Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just stuff

As I write this, I am being dive bombed by a moth with a serious napoleon complex... please forgive any typos that I might make while writing in this war zone!

I had a horrid migraine last week, it has finally subsided enough that I can function normally. I still have a slight headache, but nothing I can't tolerate. Because of my migraine I got horribly behind on work, house cleaning, and the short summer school lessons that I had set up for the kids. I got the work assignment that HAD to be done today done! Woo hoo! But I still have more work to do before I am caught up. The kids school will probably not get caught up at this point. My mom is coming into town for a visit tomorrow, and she will be here until Mr. Amazing's parents come, and I just don't know what's going to get done with all of our company here. (However, I will take my beloved family over task any day! We don't get to see each other nearly enough!)

Have you ever let other Christian's get you down? I struggle with this. I expect other Christians to be perfect and give me something to look up to. Even when they confess their faults it's just perfection in the form of humility. So when they don't confess their faults, but instead assume they are perfect, it really gets to me. I'm not trying to judge them or anything, but I have been verbally attacked by 4 Christians today! 4! All four on completely different things, 2 had NOTHING to do with me personally, the dear Christians were just ranting about something that was bugging them and blaming me for it? Does that even make since? It just hurts so much to be hurt by the ones that are suppose to be encouraging me. What hurts the most is when the words come from a professing Christian, that obviously is deceived.

But God is using this to teach me a lesson. He is showing me that while Christians are suppose to encourage one another, they do fall short. I know I have had my days. He is also showing me that while we are meant to encourage one another, our joy, happiness, peace of mind, and motivation needs to come from God and God alone. If I am doing something for Him, then I can't let someone else's words get me down. I have to stand up for the TRUTH even if it doesn't bring encouragement. No one is perfect. Not me, not other people, no one. I can't expect them to be. I can't let the imperfections of others affect my relationship with Christ, or my mood. I need to rely more fully on Christ, for EVERYTHING, including my attitude.

So that's my stuff!

A great blog post recommendation for today was posted at Life with Littles. I really think it is a must read for all moms!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mr. Monday: My favorite things

It's Mr. Monday again! I love Mr. Monday! It's so fun just to be able to brag on my man! Mr. Amazing works so hard to provide for our family, then he comes home and works around the house, and finds time to play with the kids or sit down and read a book with them. Earlier this week I had the privilege of sitting at the table in the morning drinking my cup of coffee, reading my Bible and listening to my husband and children giggle. I can't think of any better way to start the day!

So for Mr. Monday this week, I wanted to share a list of my favorite things that Mr. Amazing does that makes me smile.

1. When he smiles.
2. When he plays with the kids.
3. When he comes home from work... just seeing him makes me smile!
4. When he goes out of his way to do something for me (which is like every day, ten times a day! He's amazing like that).
5. It makes me smile when he gives me a hug. I just love being in his arms.
6. I smile when I see he has 'liked' the Bible (or something along those lines) on facebook.
7. He makes me smile when he tells me he loves me.
8. I love it when he tells others how much he loves me.
9. I smile when he takes the time to teach the kids something new, or work with them on something that they are struggling with.
10.And I can't help but smile when he randomly texts me in the middle of the day that he loves me or misses me.

My question to you this week is what is your favorite thing to hear or see your husband doing? Does it just make your day when he washes the dishes, or plays with the kids?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Domestic skills

Lately the subject of domestic skills has been lingering on my mind. It is more than evident that I am lacking in this area. It's apparent when I want to cook supper, but first I have to clean off the stove. It's apparent when I want to serve supper, but first I have to wash the dishes. It's apparent when I trip over toys or shoes trying to walk across my living room. And it's apparent at midnight when everyone else is sleeping and I'm downstairs doing the laundry so my husband has clean clothes to wear to work when he wakes up.

What am I good at? I'm great at making schedules. I am a good planner. I can schedule when chores need to be done to ensure a smoothly running home and still have time to play with the kids and get all the other stuff in that I want to do. My problem is with follow through. No matter how committed I am to sticking to a schedule and really being the domestic housewife that I want my husband to have, I lack the self-discipline. I find myself distracted in the pursuits of the moment. Thus, my home is like a city with broken down walls (Proverbs 25:28).

My biggest issue as God has been pressing this conviction deeper into my heart is that I know HOW to fix the problem. I know HOW to accomplish everything that needs to be done, and have a clean, presentable, FUNCTIONAL home. That isn't the issue. My issue is the follow through. I can plan and make commitments all I want, but they mean nothing. I have told my husband on numerous occasions that I am finally going to keep the house clean.. so many times that he no long believes me. His response has become, "You mean for the next week". That hurts, but it's true. My resolve has never lasted for more than a week. It doesn't matter what I do, I never follow through. I can make a schedule, set alarms for every hour so I switch to the next task, but I just don't! It's so frustrating that I want to scream!

I am so thankful that God has been convicting me of this, and I know that the answer lies with Him alone. I'm also grateful that He is helping me to see my faults, one at a time, and then not leaving me alone in my sin, but helping me to overcome. I know that self-control and self-discipline are things that I can't accomplish on my own. I need the help of my Savior, to save me from this habitual sin.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ~ Titus 2:11-14

Do you struggle with self-control? What has helped you become more self-disciplined?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The True Woman Study

This summer I have the privilege of doing an online book study through Susan Hunts book "The True Woman", with three of my dear friends and sisters in Christ. I am so looking forward to this study! I can hardly wait until we all have our books so we can get started! I ordered the leaders guide, so that hopefully we can get as much out of this study as possible.

Our plan is to read one chapter a week and then spend a couple days discussing it. We are going to be memorizing Romans 12:1-2,keep a journal, and ultimately become true women, transforming our lives by renewing our minds. :)

I spent all day today making bookmarks and memory cards for everyone :) I'm hoping to mail them off in the morning. I also spent some time getting my journal ready (I can't do anything simple, I had to decorate it and make it all pretty).

One of my favorite things that I have found in the leader's guide so far is the anagram P.R.A.Y. To get the most out of any study we should always be prepared, use repetition, adapt what we learn so it can be applied in our own lives, and yearn for a deeper relationship with Christ.

The idea for this study stemmed from the Women Discipling Women group that I am part of through my church. Going through this book with a group of women over the summer was a suggested challenge. When I heard that challenge I immediately thought of my online sisters. A couple of us have done studies together before, and I always get so much out of them. While I enjoy meeting with women face to face, I actually value my online sisters because of the environment it provides. When I meet with women in my congregation there is much more chance for gossip. Someone mentions what someone wore to church, or what so and so's child did, and the study gets side tracked. With my online sisters this simply doesn't happen... mainly because none of us go to the same church, live in the same town (or state for that matter), and we've never actually met this side of heaven. There is simply nothing to gossip about. We can however, study God's Word together because we all share the love of Christ with one another.

I do long to meet my online sisters in person (and am secretly wishing that we are all neighbors someday), but for now I am just thankful that I know them via the internet and that we can study and grow together.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mr. Monday: A Servant's Heart


I don't know about you, but when I think about a servant's heart, I usually think of a woman. But it isn't only women who have servant's heart. Many men have them as well. In fact, it isn't a womanly trait at all, but a godly trait. We see the theme of serving others repeated over and over again in the Bible. My favorite verse is Galatians 5:13~

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

This verse describes Mr. Amazing amazingly! He has such a servants heart. He volunteers to help others whenever possible. In the summer he mows not only our yard, but our neighbors as well. In the winter, he shovels the sidewalks of the entire block... not just our street, but around the entire block. He even raked leaves in several of our neighbors yards last fall. If a neighbor is outside doing yard work, he always asks if they need any help. His mother said that he got this trait from his father. She says that if she wouldn't have put limitations on his father's generosity, he would have given away their home and everything else they owned. I can totally see this with my husband. He has driven out of his way (over an hour) to help someone who was walking in the rain. He just has the desire to help others. I absolutely love having a husband with a servant's heart!

What about you? Does your Mr. have the heart of a servant? Tell us about it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

(Not) The Whole Bible Story

The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William H. Marty

This book is one man’s attempt to summarize the Bible in “plain” English. It’s described as a Bible story book for grown-ups, but it just falls short. There is absolutely no flow in this book. It is so choppy that it’s hard to stay involved. I also found it odd that this entire book is suppose to be a summary of the Bible and he still included chapter summaries (to further disrupt the flow that isn’t there), you get a summary of a summary… And then there is the ‘simple’ or ‘plain’ English that he used, where I had to look up the meaning of words or ask someone close by (Brackish?!).

I will not be recommending this book to anyone… EVER. Besides there being no flow to the book, he seems to have stretched some stories from the Bible to their absolute limits, even including facts or idea’s that the Bible doesn’t say, and others he left out important details, or the entire story together. Some examples of these would be including the conflicting views (pg. 13 and 19), and while he included the story of Jacob fleeing from, and being pursued by Laban, but left the idols and Rachel out of it all together (pg. 31-32). On page 38 he said that the reason that Moses’ mother put him in a basket was because she realized he was a special child of God, which the Bible doesn’t even hint at. Any mother would do anything that they could to save their child, even if they weren’t chosen by God to do great things. And of course in chapter 3 it says that Moses sent the plagues on Egypt and doesn’t hardly even mention God at all. I could go on, but I will stop there.

So you can see my issues with this book. I expected a whole lot more from something coming from Bethany House, and Dr. William H. Marty who is a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany house. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mr. Monday


How are you all doing this beautiful Monday morning? Today I have been thinking about Proverbs 31. While this is normally know as the passage about the perfect woman, I think it tells us a lot about our husbands too. Let's look at the passage together:

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


This husband isn't afraid to let his wife work (16). He is confident in her abilities in the home and out of the home (11 & 12). He tells his wife how much he appreciates her (28), and he wants others to know of her hard work as well (31).

Is your husband a Proverbs 31 man? Mr. Amazing sure is. He encourages me to do what I want. When I expressed the desire to go to college next fall, he supported me 100%. He supports my writing and editing, and has an amazing confidence in my abilities. He has what I would call an unreasonable amount of confidence in me (I fall short of the Proverbs 31 woman quite often). He tells me almost every day how much he appreciates me, and he tells others all the time how wonderful I am. It is truly a blessing to be married to a Proverbs 31 man!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A day in the neighborhood

I'm late linking up with the Friday Funnies today, but this was just too good not to share. As I was sitting in my room this afternoon, getting some work done on my computer, in strolls my cat. Not an abnormal thing, however, in her mouth was what she hoped to be her supper. I screamed and batted at my cat to get her to release the poor bird. Which of course she did. What was I thinking????

The newly released bird, that has a revived since of life, flies into my kitchen. My kitchen is not what I would call "bird friendly". All of my window sills are fully decorated, and even my windows have things hanging in them. So here I have this bird, flapping around my kitchen, banging into windows and knocking things over (thankfully nothing was broken).

I should tell you, that while we have several pets, I am not an animal person. My first thought was to call Mr. Amazing, whom I knew would have some sound advice for me. He was out getting something fun for the kids (shhh, it's a surprise), but was able to answer his phone. He said he wouldn't be home for another hour or so, but suggested that I threw a towel over the bird and carried it outside... Did I mention that my kitchen isn't bird friendly? I have bottles, paintings, and glasses on top of the cabinets, things in the window, and books scattered all over the table that I had been working with. Not to mention that I hadn't yet done the dishes today, so there were scattered dirty dishes. So the thought of trying to throw a towel over this feathered beast, didn't look to promising. After following it around the kitchen with a towel in hand for several minutes, I walked over to my neighbors home. She volunteers at the humane society so I figured she might be more qualified than I. But, she wasn't home.

So I called my mom! Moms are so wonderful! She suggested taking the screens off the kitchen windows. Brilliant, I tell you! Unless of course you have an un-bird friendly kitchen that has the screens bolted on. I kid you not. Being the handy woman that I am, I just thought that I would un-bolt the screens. Alas, the bolts were too big for a 6mm and too small for a 7mm, too big for the 1/4 and too small for the 9/32. Sigh. Plan failed.

Next my mom suggested that I close the blinds and try to urge it towards the living room where there is a door. Another brilliant idea! ...commence dive bombing... As I run out of the kitchen in a panic trying to escape the most likely disease infected bird, my sweet, dear, innocent children come into the house to see what the commotion is about. After gently asking them to remain outdoors until further notice, I got my husbands jacket (with a hood), a.k.a Bird protection gear, and headed back into battle. Okay, battle might be too strong of a word. I went back into the kitchen and helplessly looked at the bird that was flying into my windows and knocking over my belongings.

I was running out of ideas at this point, so I did what I'm sure any of you would do... I took a picture to share with you all:

That is my feathered friend. After thoughtfully documenting our friendship, I headed back outside to see if any of my neighbors were home, but of course they weren't. I filled the kids in on what was going on. They said that I should catch it and take it outside, so helpful aren't they?

When I came back in, one of my daughters followed me. She thought that the fact that we had a bird in the kitchen was the coolest thing ever! -insert mental picture of a 3 year old ecstatically excited about a bird- I tried to sneak up on the bird with a towel, but that just sent it into a flapping panic.

This was the moment that my neighbor came home. My boys told her that I REALLY needed her help, and came running inside to get me. I went out and explained what was going on, and she graciously agreed to come over to help me. With the warning that while she loved pet birds, outdoor birds were a totally different ball game. So here we are, standing in the kitchen staring at the bird. My three year old daughter is in the background saying "A Bird!" "It's right there!" "A Bird!" We referred to her as our comic relief.

At this point, the bird was behind the painting (pictured with it above), so we removed all of the bottles and then started brainstorming. If we took the picture down, we were sure that it would flap wildly around the kitchen. We didn't want that, but neither did we want it to remain where it was. My neighbor tried tapping on the picture to scare it... nothing.

After a few minutes it did come out, but it flew over to another cabinet top with my punch bowl and glasses. My neighbor suggested that it flew back over where it was and it kindly obliged. It went a little farther then we would have liked, right back behind the painting. So I geared back up in my bird protection gear, adding gloves this time, and prepared to remove the painting.

So here I am, kneeling on the counter top, wearing my husbands coat and gloves and trying to remove the painting without exposing my face to the bird. My first attempt led to the bird flying out and my panicking and leaving the painting where it was...and the bird went back behind it.

Attempt #2: I was able to remove the painting without disturbing the bird! WOO HOO! However, it just sat there, as if saying, "Oh yeah? What now?" My neighbor was the one that was brave enough to try to catch it with the towel. Of course the bird wouldn't have that, and flew right out of the kitchen. It was now flying into the living room window. I should mention that right outside of the kitchen is a door that was WIDE open, sunshine and fresh air pouring into the house. But no, my feathered friend went the other way. My neighbor chased it into the entryway and got it to go out the front door. She's my hero.

Please note that to the best of my knowledge, no birds were injured beyond repair in the making of this blog post. My feathered bird appeared quite healthy, and flew away to live happily ever after... unless of course the bald Eagle that picked a pigeon out of our back yard this morning gets a hold of it...

I hope you all enjoyed your Friday's, and that you didn't have any un-expected visitors.

For more Friday funnies visit our host Kim' blog:
Homesteader's Heart

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mr. Monday!

Welcome back to another Mr. Monday. I hope all of you enjoyed your mother's day. Mr. Amazing took me to the mother's day brunch at our church, and then we enjoyed spending our afternoon together. He even made a special trip back to the church to get my coffee creamer that I had left there. And of course while he was gone he stopped and picked up a dozen roses! He's so thoughtful!

What did your Mr. do to make your mothers day great?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother of Pearl: Happy Mother's Day!

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

Each Life is Unique by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. II Peter 1.3 (NIV)

Moms, God wants you to know that He has given you everything you need for life --- your unique life. He does not plan to give you what you might need to live the life of your best friend, or your neighbor, or even your favorite mother-model. No, God has called you to the life that He planned. I suspect that for most of us, it didn’t turn out to be the life we thought it might be… so long ago when we were young and dreaming of ‘growing up.’

On Mother’s Day I often recall my own dreams to one day be a mother. I grew up playing with dolls and looking to my own Mama as a model for that particular role in life. However, by the time I reached my thirties I was still not a mother! God did, however, have a plan. It just wasn’t what I imagined.

My own unique life would find me becoming a mother through the adoption of my first three children who were ages 9, 7 and 4; and then much later giving birth to our fourth child. Of course I was shocked when God revealed this to me, but I was ecstatic as well. It’s as though I could hear Him saying, “Well, you’re not getting any younger so I’m just going to just give you a jump start with three at one time!”

A huge blessing! A huge adjustment! A joy and a struggle. Change is often like that, isn’t it? We finally get what we want then we have to deal with it. May I just offer a bit of advice if you just got a great answer to prayer, but perhaps not in the way or form you imagined? Just receive it. Embrace it. And be willing to move forward into a new paradigm for your life. So what if you’re not like all the other mothers you know? So what if you’re not like your own mother? So what if your family unit is different? I guarantee God has a plan.

Not only did he want me to embrace my own story, but He called me as a mother to do perhaps one of the most important tasks of all --- to nurture my children to live their own unique lives. Not for me to try and squeeze them into what I hoped and dreamed they would be. Not for me to try and live my life through them. But to recognize how God made them, gifted them, and called them to their own special place.

All of my 4 kids are different from one another. Let’s take sports, for instance: I have one child who wins gold medals in international tennis competition, one who is a born equestrian, another who competes nationally in obstacle course shooting matches, and yet another who manages to dance onstage in 3 inch heels, do cartwheels and splits while singing at the same time. Now, honestly, I do none of these things. And yet they do.

I don’t remember placing my order with God for these things.  But I do remember when that tennis player turned 9 years old and I enrolled him in Special Olympics for the first time and how it changed his life… and ours. I remember getting a counselor job at an exclusive summer camp so that my daughter could take English riding classes. I remember being a Cub Scout leader (even though I knew nothing about boys) so that son could one day become an Eagle scout and pursue his love of the great outdoors. And yes, I remember enrolling my preschooler in dance lessons. Later when all the little girls were scared to go on stage for the recital, she exclaimed that she had endured a whole year of lessons just so she could go on stage.

Don’t compare yourself to someone else. And don’t live vicariously through your favorite reality show star. Live your own story. And Moms, raise your kids to embrace the unique life God has for them.
Remember, He has given us everything we need for life!

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, is the author of 10 books including “Role of a Lifetime,” “Amazed by Grace,” “Spa for the Soul” and the new Bible Study “Fit and Healthy Summer.” She is an international conference speaker and enjoys being a Pearl Girl from “Sunnyside” – her home in a New England village. Visit Cindy at www.EncouragingWords.net

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother of Pearl: Grandmothers

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

What is a Grandmother? by Suzanne Woods Fisher

“A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.”
 Amish proverb

I arrived late in the night in Rhode Island, anxious to meet my two-day-old grandson, Blake, after a full day of flying. My daughter and son-in-law had just returned home from the hospital and felt like they had been in a train wreck. There was stuff everywhere.  Already, the needs of this little eight-pound bundle of joy were enormous: an all-terrain stroller, plenty of diapers, onesies, spit-up rags, an assortment of pacifiers to try out until he found the ideal one.

And he was perfect.

I know, I know. “Every mother crow thinks her own little crow is the blackest.” But this little dark eyed, dark haired boy really was perfect.

I spent the next seven days (and nights) getting to know this little guy. His schedule (he had none), his hunger cries (very similar to his every other cry). His pirate look--one eye open, one eye squeezed shut, as if he was still surprised by all that had taken place to him in a week’s time.

I felt surprised, too. How could my baby possibly have had a baby? How could I be a grandmother? I had just turned fifty-one. Shockingly young! How could a kid like me give up playing tennis three times a week to settle into knitting and crocheting and Friday night bingo? And shouldn’t I alter my appearance to fit this new label? Give up my jeans? Switch over to below knee-length calico dresses, thick black socks, practical shoes, gray hair pinned in a topknot. Think…Aunt Bee on Mayberry R.F.D.

As soon as people knew my daughter was expecting, I was bombarded with advice from my well meaning friends—even those who weren’t yet grandparents. “The best way to avoid getting on the nerves of your daughter and son-in-law is to not say anything. Ever.” Or “You’d better pick your nickname or you’ll be stuck with something hideous, like MooMoo Cow.” 

What should I be called? Granny? No…reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies. Grandma? No…sounded like The Waltons. Grammy? No…it was already taken by the in-laws.

But no one really explained what it meant to be a grandmother. I didn’t know myself, not until I held baby Blake in my arms. In that moment, I realized that he was one of mine. He belongs to me. He will be on my mind and in my prayers, every day, for the rest of my life. There’s a bond between us that can’t be broken. He has altered my life forevermore.

I had become a grandmother. 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, and The Search, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California. www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother of Pearl: When Mother's Day is Difficult

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

When Mother's Day is Difficult by Holley Gerth

I have a confession (anyone surprised?). I have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.

On one hand, I love celebrating all the women who have made a difference in my life (thanks, Mom!).

On the other hand, a long journey of infertility has left my heart with some tender places.

On May 8th, we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day once again. For many, it’s a time of appreciation and joy. For others, it can be one of the most difficult days of the year. This is often true for women facing infertility, families who have recently experienced the loss of a mother, and many other painful situations.

At one point in my life it seemed as if I couldn’t take another step. In addition to infertility, I was facing several other losses. I felt as if I were in a dark cave. But then I sensed the Lord gently and lovingly speak to my heart, “You may be in a cave, but you still have a choice. You can sit in despair or you can diamond-mine your difficulties.” I decided I was not leaving that time in my life empty-handed. I was taking every hidden blessing I could find. Of course, I still had difficult days. But choosing hope made a difference.

As a reminder, I now wear two rings. The one on the fourth finger of my left hand represents my commitment to my husband. The one on the fourth finger of my right hand is a simple silver band inscribed with the word “hope” and it represents the commitment I have made to God and myself to hold onto hope no matter what happens.

The story of an inspiring woman named Terrie also reminds me to hold onto hope. She endured the loss of four pregnancies and waited seventeen years before adopting a little girl. She told me, “I think one of the most important parts of this journey is learning to trust God. I don’t mean the flippant kind of trust. It’s easy for people to say, ‘You just need to trust God.’ It’s much harder when you’re in the middle of all this pain. But he is trustworthy. Through it all, God has given us an amazing story. I wouldn’t have chosen this road, but he has been with us. I can look back and truly say every step was worth it.”

I don’t know how my journey will end and you probably don’t know how yours will either. I also don’t know how many of you will be silently grieving your losses as we sit in church together on May 8th. But I do know that God sees each one of us. He knows how many hairs are on our heads and how many cares our in our hearts. Whatever you’re going through this Mother’s Day, you’re not facing it alone. As King David, a man who experienced many losses in his life, expressed in Psalm 34:18 NIV, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” May God surround you with love, fill you with hope, and give you strength for each moment—especially this Mother’s Day.

Excerpted from When Mother’s Day is Difficult.

Holley Gerth is an award-winning writer for DaySpring, a cofounder of the popular web site (in)courage, and licensed counselor. Holley loves chocolate, coffee, Jesus and connecting with the hearts of women through words. Her next book, a devotional titled God's Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman (Harvest House) will release this July. You can find Holley online through her blog Heart to Heart with Holley.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother of Pearl: A Gift

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

A Mother's Day Wish by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Heads up: Margaret McSweeney deserves a medal, or at least a commendation for giving everyone a much deserved Mother’s Day rest. Okay, y’all can be seated. I’m glad you agree, but you’re supposed to be taking a load off, remember? Oh, and full disclosure—Margaret didn’t know I was going to say that so I hope she leaves it in, and no, I didn’t do it just because I’m ridiculously nostalgic about the theme of her community, although I am. As the Belle of All Things Southern, one who is southern to the bone, I have a thing about pearls.

When I was a teenager, add-a-pearl necklaces were all the rage. They may not be as wildly popular anymore as they were back in the day but I still say they’ll always be a classic concept: a gift of a single pearl on a dainty chain given with the intentions of adding other pearls on important holidays and special occasions. Today, I see add-a-pearls as a beautiful reminder of the accumulated wisdom we learn from our mamas.  Oh, sure, we snicker as young girls because not all of their advice strikes us as useful and some of it seems positively fossilized, but hopefully, over time and with the Father’s blessing, we gain enough perspective to see that these mama-isms—the important values and the silly little lagniappe— are all increasing in value with the years.  By the way, that’s my Mother’s Day wish for each of you, that we’d each take the time and the responsibility to thread these precious heirlooms into treasures worthy of bequeathing to the next generation. Mother’s Day...

May I be honest? I’m looking ahead to the annual celebration with somewhat mixed emotions. I’m not feeling very Mother of the Year. Instead of cooking dinner for my most deserving mama and enjoying her company, instead of reveling in the love of my husband, kids, and grands, (known as the Baby Czars of All Things Southern), I’ll be on the road, touring with my latest book “Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy.” I’ve got Mama’s gift bought, wrapped, and ready to be delivered by my beloved hubby, and my grown kids understand that I didn’t choose the release date, but the facts remain:  I won’t be there. (Shameless plugs time, anyone? My daughter blogs at Kitchen Belleicious and is raising funds to build an orphanage in Rwanda at Shelter a Child http://www.shelterachild.com/ and my daughter-in-law celebrates the daily details of getting to know the Holy One at Providence, http://providence-carey.blogspot.com). I won’t get to enjoy Mama tickling the ivory from the piano bench of Melbourne Baptist Church and I won’t be overdosing on baby sugah. Sigh.

But, then, I mentioned mixed emotions earlier, didn’t I? Well, before some sweet soul cues the violin music, perhaps I should lighten up and come clean on what Mr. Harvey would call “the rest of the story.”  It so happens that while the 8th of May will find me miles from home, it’ll also find me in Savannah, Georgia where I’ve secured myself a little reservation at that famous establishment belonging to Mrs. Paula Deen, the Queen of Southern Cooking. Indeed, y’all, I’ll be suffering for Jesus at The Lady and Sons. I know. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Regardless of where you spend it, I wish you each a Happy Mother’s Day. I’d love to think that everyone reading my words had a mother like mine, a woman of faith who taught me from childhood of the Risen Savior who saves souls and anchors lives. But, dear reader, if that’s not your past, I hope you know it can be your future. I pray you’ll be the one that begins such a legacy, and that you’ll be moved to start building that heritage today.

I’d love to see y’all on the road somewhere. Watch for me, and I’ll watch for you. I’ll be the one with an empty glass of sweet tea looking, always looking, for a refill.

Hugs,
Shellie

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, known as the Belle of All Things Southern is a radio host, columnist, author, speaker and founder of the All Things Southern online community, www.allthingssouthern.com. She loves meeting, greeting, laughing and learning with the whole wide world or as many who wander her way. Shellie once dreamed of writing great important things that changed the world, only once she started writing the world grinned and christened her a humorist. Shellie saw this as a problem at first, until she discovered that the laughter softens hearts, builds relationships, and invites her into people’s hurting hearts where she can share her own, which is exactly where she wanted to be all along. Look for Shellie’s latest book, Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy wherever fine books are sold.

Confessions of a housewife wannabe

Mama’s Losin’ It


I must say that the prompts for Mama Kat's writer's workshop this week were all amazing! So many memories from long ago were brought back, and I probably could have written a ton about all of them! Check them out for yourselves, and see if you can resist writing about them:

1.) A memorable high school job.
2.) That time you ran away from home.
3.) A boy you had a crush on...where is he now?
4.) Ode to your mother...write about a special memory you have of your mom in honor of Mother's Day.
5.) 10 reasons why you could not be a real housewife from any county.

While I was tempted to just write 5 different posts, or write about each prompt in one post, I finally narrowed it down to the one that best fit my blog. Prompt #5: 10 reasons why I could not be a real housewife from any county.

The first thing I should tell you is that I am a housewife. Or in more modern terms I am a full time stay at home, work at home, homeschooling mom. So why couldn't I be considered a "real" housewife? I think it comes down to the picture that word brings into my head. When someone says they are a housewife, I instantly think of something like the Brady Bunch. A mom who puts all she is into her family and the keeping of their home, and does it perfectly. So with that picture now firmly planted in your head, the only reason that I'm not a real housewife is because I don't have a maid named Alice. I'm sure that would solve the problem...

Okay, probably not. All joking aside, I have to look to the Proverbs 31 woman. She is the PERFECT woman, the perfect housewife. Pondering on her character (okay, and a little bit on the Brady Bunch) here are my 10 reasons that I could not be considered a "real" housewife.

Reason #1: I am far from perfect. My house is usually a mess, despite my never ending efforts to keep it clean, I don't have a maid named Alice... Even the Proverbs 31 woman had help keeping her home clean.

Which leads me to reason #2: I cook pre-made meals. GASP! I know, it's horrible, but true. I would love to cook nothing but homemade, healthy food for my family. However, as I already mentioned, my house is rarely ever clean, and that includes my kitchen. I mean, have you ever tried to cook a four course meal in a messy kitchen? Yeah, it doesn't work to well. It goes back to not having a maid named Alice. I need her here to clean my kitchen and cook for the family at least twice a day. I do enjoy cooking, I just have four kids that I am trying to teach and work that needs to be done, and of course a blog that needs to be written... Thus, as I write this in my messy kitchen, I am cooking a frozen pizza. So you see, I could never be a real housewife.

Thinking about food brings me to Reason #3: My children are always a mess. I have no idea how anyone can keep clean, presentable clothing on 4 small children! If I can actually get my children to keep their clothes on, they insist on either playing in the dirt or spilling food or drink all over themselves. And just the thought of them having clean faces, hands and hair brushed or pulled up makes me want to laugh (you know that laugh that turns into a cry, because it's something that you would love to happen, but know never will... yeah, that laugh. ).

Reason #4: I always picture real housewives smiling and laughing with their perfect children... My children aren't perfect, and I'm not always smiling at them... I love them, that isn't the issue. But faithful instruction isn't always on my tongue and my words are not always words of wisdom. I'm sure any other stay at home, work at home, homeschooling moms can understand this. And any of you who can't, don't judge me, I'm not proud of it, but it's honesty that counts, right?

Reason #5: After the first 4 reasons, I'm sure it will come to no surprise to you that I am not a perfect wife. While my husband 100% supports me in all I do, and has confidence in me, I wouldn't say I get anything right. I often forget to do something that he asks me to do. Like watering the plants, or feeding the fish... And on occasion, I even sleep in and he has to get his own breakfast and put together his own lunch to take with him to work. He doesn't complain, but they are things that I think that a real housewife would always do (or at least assign to her maid named Alice).

Reason #6: I don't always get up before the sun comes up... I blame this on my children not sleeping through the night, and of course my dog who is old and insists on being let out 3 times each night... When I don't get to sleep at night, I have to sleep sometime, but of course, a real housewife would be able to function on 3 hours of sleep. Me, I need more.

Reason #7: While I know how to sew, I buy clothing, bedding, and other cloth items from the store. I could probably sew my own if I had time (and maybe a few formal lessons as I'm not very good). Maybe if I had a maid named Alice, I could take some classes on sewing more complex things while she cooked and cleaned and herded the children...

Reason #8: My children don't wake up and tell me how wonderfully blessed I am. Usually their first words in the morning are "I'm hungry". They don't think I'm blessed at all, they just think I'm their servant. A real housewife would have children that at least respected her, and probably listened to her as well... Maybe even cared about her feelings??? But then, that might be pushing it a little...

Reason #9: I really think that real housewives are always ready for company. If someone knocked on the door at 6am or 10pm, I think that real housewives would be ready to answer, fully dress, hair done, and smiling. I don't always get dressed before noon, and I'm often in my p.j.'s at 7pm with the kids. Not only is my house not always ready for company (see reason #1), but I'm not either. I would love company, and I would never turn anyone away, but they might find me in pajamas or clothes that are only worn for cleaning the house.

And last but not least is reason #10: I eat the bread of idleness. I don't always set about my tasks vigorously, and there are even times when I am just worn out and need to do nothing for a minute or 30. Of course a real housewife wouldn't need to stop and rest. Real housewives are like little energizer bunnies! They just keep going and going and going...

So it's quite obvious that I could never be a real housewife... well, at least not without a maid named Alice.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

~Proverbs 31:10-31

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother of Pearl: Adoption

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

Adoption, a Mother's Greatest Gift by Tricia Goyer

I held the small baby in my arms, wrapped up in a receiving blanket to keep her warm from the chill of the delivery room, and a voice spoke to me. "Congratulations, Mom."

The congratulations came from an unlikely source--the grandmother of this child, the mother of the sweet birth mother who chose adoption for her baby girl.

To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Thankfulness filled my heart--to God who'd answered my prayers and to the birth mom who'd chosen our family for her daughter. I also ached that my joy would be another's heartache. Working with teen moms for ten years, I was often an advocate for the young mother. I knew that while the weeks and months ahead would be a time of celebration for our family, they would be ones of heartache and grieving for this woman.

Adoption is a wonder and the beauty, and the sacrifice of it is never so clear as on Mother's Day. My new daughter is one-years-old now and she huge is a part of my heart. Her life is a gift to my days and her smile can make even the most dreary afternoon bright. I can honestly say there is no difference in the love I feel between her and my three other children. If anything the love feels even more special because she was an unexpected gift. John and I learned about her life just 2 ½ months prior to her being born. The years of prayers to expand our family were answered quickly and beautifully.

The sacrifice of adoption makes my heart ache, for I know on this Mother's Day another woman will be thinking about my daughter—her daughter. As I rejoice, I'll be crying tears for her. I'll also be sending up prayers that God will wrap His arms around her in a special way.

This Mother's Day I cannot help to think about Christ's sacrifice to make our adoption into God's family possible. Maybe it's because just a few weeks ago we were celebrating Easter, but I'm reminded anew that my gain required His loss, His pain. The greatest love, it seems, is not shown with flowers, chocolate or a diamond bracelet. The greatest love is shown when, because of your love for another, your desires and comfort are laid down for the greater good of someone else.

As Ephesians 1:3 says, “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son” (The Message).

Perhaps you know an adoptive mother. Take time this Mother's Day to let her know that the beauty of her gift is not missed by you. Also, take time to thank God for adopting you into His forever family, thanking Jesus Christ for His sacrifice. I wouldn't be the mother I am without this Gift of Love.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Beside Still Waters, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. www.triciagoyer.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother of Pearl: A Merry Heart

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

A Merry Heart ... by Megan Alexander

Sometimes family is really all you need. This was reinforced to me when my Mother shared a story a few days ago about her mother, my Grandma. You see, when my Grandma was a very young girl, around age 10, she was diagnosed with polio. This meant long hospital stays, extremely limited interaction with children her own age and lonely days staring out the window from her hospital bed. In those days, with polio, they felt keeping the children very subdued and quiet was best, and this particular hospital was as drab as can be. It was also during the time of the Depression, which meant money was tight and life was tough. Day in and day out, she was given the best medicine and treatment, but she wasn’t thriving and recovering. Daily visits from adult doctors and specialists is not exactly stimulating for a young girl. Her health was so poor, at one point, a Catholic Priest had administered the "last rites" at her bedside.

One day, her older brother and sister decided to sneak some brand new baby kittens into her hospital room. Their cat Fitzy had just had babies, and the cute kittens were small enough to put in a basket. Upon entering her room, my mother says they quietly took off the lid and showed my Grandma the sweet little kittens and let her cuddle with them. Her mother, my Great Grandmother, observed my Grandma’s mood instantly lift. Her eyes sparkled and she squealed with delight at the cute kitties! Her whole demeanor changed and she came to life.

My Great Grandma took all this in and made a decision that day. She decided that my Grandma would heal much better at home. She promptly checked my Grandma out of the hospital and brought her home with her family. My Grandma did gradually recover, among the love and warmth of her family. You know what Proverbs 17 says “ A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Also, I can imagine that she healed emotionally and physically and spiritually as well and that combined strength wouldn't have been possible in the hospital alone.

When they left that day, the hospital instructed my Great Grandmother to massage my Grandma’s legs everyday, something she promised the hospital she would do, and she did. My Grandma was one of the few people we know who did not have a limp or shortened leg due to polio. And perhaps most importantly, the entire family was always praying for my Grandma.

I’m not saying that medicine is bad or not necessary. But there is no cure quite like the warmth of your family. Its like milk, it simply does a body good. As a pregnant Mom about to give birth to a baby boy, I am inspired to provide this same love to my child. May he feel the same warm love from his family that my Grandma felt from her’s.

And in this same way, we are called sons and daughters of God. Galatians 4:1-7
“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

God claims you and I as his children. This is a wonderful gift and identity that is good for our heart and soul, and something that is more powerful than all the medicine in the world.
 
Megan Alexander can be seen nightly as a television correspondent for the top rated news magazine show “Inside Edition”.  She also appears on the CNN program “Showbiz Tonight”. She especially enjoys reporting on stories with a heart. She graduated from Westmont College with a degree in Political Science. She loves speaking to youth and works with Girls Inc and National American Miss. She and her husband reside in the New York City area and attend Redeemer Church of Manhattan. For more on Megan, go to www.meganalexander.com. Megan’s mother, Mary, resides in Seattle and provided insight into this essay.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Marriage Monday



This week for Mr. Monday, I am linking up with Chrysalis for the monthly Marriage Monday blog hop. You can learn more about Marriage Monday by clicking the above button. This week the topic is "Faith". Specifically: What advice would you give to a young couple about to be married?

This is actually a topic in an online community that I am involved with right now. First and foremost my advice would be to go to premarital counseling. While I myself have never been to it, I think it would have benefited us in so many ways! Aside from that, I just really think it's important that no matter what your marriage situation is, that you remember that first and foremost you are a servant of Christ. We have to remember that our faith is in Christ alone. Our husbands are sinful humans, just like us. There will be times when they will fail us, it's important to make sure that their failures (or our own) don't determine our faith. There will be so many times throughout marriage that one or both parties will screw up, but God is still there. Moreover, God can take our mistakes and use them for His glory if we let Him.

When things go wrong, don't focus on the hurt, while that is easier said then done, try to focus on what God can do with the situation, and how He want's you to respond. Do your best to pray before responding, and remember to respond in love, not anger. Above all else, remember that you vow to LOVE each other for better or for worse, not merely tolerate one another. Focus on the good, and give the problem area's to God. Don't ask Him to "fix" your mates flaws, but rather ask Him to help you love one another and unite your hearts.




What about you? What advice about faith would you share with a couple that was about to get married? Leave a comment or write your own post and link up at Chrysalis.

Mother of Pearl: Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

3 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts that Celebrate Family By Beth Engelman

This Mother’s Day, celebrate family with this crafty games the whole family can enjoy.  


Block Photo Puzzle
Not only does this 6-sided photo puzzle provide hours of family fun, but it’s also a great way to reuse favorite family photos.

Materials:
•    9 - Wooden Blocks (Use old alphabet blocks)
•    6 - 8 x 10 Photograph Prints or Colored Copies
•    Ruler
•    Scissors
•    Mod Podge and Paintbrush

Directions:
1.  Arrange blocks in a square and measure the length and width of the square.
2. Measure and cut print to the exact same size as the 9-block square.
3. Place blocks in a square on top of print. Position blocks so they’re lined up neatly and as close together as possible.
4. Trace and cut the outline of each block.
5. Glue print pieces to blocks using Mod Podge. Set aside to dry and then seal with 1-2 top layers of Mod Podge.
6. Repeat process until all 6 sides of the blocks are covered with different photographs.
Thank you to the creative folks at www.photojojo.com for sharing this idea!

 “Go Fish with the Family” Card Game

This gift is perfect for Moms who like card games. Another bonus?  There’s always room to “grow” the deck.

Materials:
•    Camera
•    Double stick tape, or a glue stick
•    Several pieces of cardstock (one color)
•    Scissors

Directions:
1.    Take pictures of each family member and develop the pictures in duplicates (3x5 or 4x6 is fine, just make sure all the pictures are the same size).
2.    Turn the pictures into playing cards by gluing or taping a piece of card-stock to the backside of each picture.
3.    Game ideas include “Go Fishing with the Family” which is similar to “Go Fish” but, instead of matching numbers, the object is to collect matching pairs of photos. “Memory” is another fun game to play.  Place the cards face down in a grid and try to find matching pairs of photos.

Family Bingo
In my house, Bingo is always a big hit because regardless of age or skill level, everyone has the same chance to win.  However this version is extra special because the playing boards are populated with pictures of family members.

Materials:
•    Color Coordinated Game Boards (download here)
•    Images of Family Members (use photographs, drawings or clip art)
•    Bingo Markers (pennies, pebbles or buttons)
•    Glue and Scissors

Directions:
1.    Create the game boards:  Download and print desired number of game-boards. Remember each player gets a different game board.
2.    Color-copy and paste images of family members onto each game board.  Remember to paste one person per square and make each board slightly different.
3.    Make “call-out cards” by writing the name of each family member in yellow, green, blue, purple and pink (which coordinates with the colors on the board)
4.    To Play: Game play is similar to traditional Bingo except the caller will randomly select a call-out card and then read the color and person.  For example, “Blue, Grandma Mary” means there is a picture of Grandma Mary in a blue square.  Just like Bingo, the first person to get 5 in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) wins!

Beth Engelman is a columnist for the Sun Times News Group’s Pioneer Press. Her column “Mommy on a Shoestring,” appears in over 30 local papers around Chicago area as well as on the Sun-times website where you can also view her Mommy on a Shoestring video series. She is also a regular on “You and Me this Morning” on WCIU and is frequent contributor for WGN America’s Midday News at Noon.  Recently, Beth was chosen by a celebrity panel from NBC Universal and iVillage to become one of 15 national  “mom” correspondents for NBC’s popular website, www.ivillage.com (over 3 million visitors a day) where she reports on issues that affect moms, families and communities such as bullying, divorce and weight loss.  For more information visit Beth at www.mommyonashoestring.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother of Pearl: Mother's Day Blog Series

Welcome to Pearl Girls Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series. The series is week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Megan Alexander, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Beth Engelman, Holley Gerth, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/1-5/8 and the winner will on 5/11. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there! Happy Mother's Day!

PEARL PINS by Margaret McSweeney

At age 49, I am a mom without a mom. This deep longing for my mother continues to surprise me. During milestone moments, I imagine phone conversations with her.

“Can you believe that Melissa is graduating from high school in June? I’m so glad you will be flying to Chicago to be here with us.” 

“Wasn’t that a fun family dinner we all had last weekend to celebrate Katie’s ‘sweet sixteen?’ I am so glad you could join us.”

“Isn’t this exciting? I just got a new book contract. Will you please edit my manuscript before I send it in?”

Sadly, this will be my eighth Mother’s Day to spend without my mother. She has missed some poignant milestones in my life and in the lives of my daughters. Both Melissa and Katie were very young when she died so they don’t have a full reservoir of memories about Grandmommy Rhea. However, they do have the legacy of faith that she helped instill in them as toddlers. She loved to send Veggie Tales tapes, Children’s Bibles and devotional books. 

Melissa and Katie were blessed to have Nana, (Dave’s mother) around for much longer. Nana passed away two years ago. A few years before Nana died, she gave me a beautiful necklace with a diamond pendant made from her wedding ring along with a pair of diamond earrings. She asked me to give these special gifts to Melissa and Katie for their sixteenth birthdays. Even though Nana wasn’t around to celebrate, my daughters were so happy to receive such special keepsakes from her. Hugs from heaven.

Last week on Katie’s 16th birthday, I discovered an unexpected blessing that had been tucked away in a cardboard container of my mother’s things. A jewelry box with three pearl pins! I gave one to Melissa as a belated 16th birthday gift, and I presented one to Katie for her 16th birthday. This Mother’s Day, I will wear my mother’s pearl pin as a tangible reminder that a mother’s love (and a grandmother’s love) is an everlasting gift from God.  

Finding these gifts made me think about what I might leave for my own daughters someday. It isn’t the external value of the gift that matters, but rather the love that it represents.

Is there a special gift or letter that you would like to leave your children?

Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs.  After earning a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, Margaret moved to New York City to work at a large bank where she met David.  Margaret is the editor of Pearl Girls, author of A Mother’s Heart Knows and co-author of Go Back and Be Happy. Charity and community involvement are very important to Margaret. She has served on the board of directors for WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) for over eight years. For more information, find Margaret at www.pearlgirls.info and www.kitchenchat.info

Mother of Pearls

Mother of Pearl series



Mother's Day is coming up and I just found out about a Mother's Day blogging series called Mother of Pearl. This series is designed to celebrate mothering in all forms. It is written by Tricia Goyer, Shellie Tomlinson, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Holley Gerth and other wonderful Christian women who have offered up their talent. This series also features a "pearl" themed giveaway (a hand-crafted pearl necklace)! You can learn more about the Pearl Girls by clicking here, or you can learn more about this series by clicking here.