And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, December 31, 2012

Too Much

In the past my word for the year has been just one, simple positive word to give me direction for the new year. I jokingly told some friends a week or so ago that my word this year would be "too much." That was following all the media coverage of the Newtown tragedy. It was simply too much. We felt overwhelmed by it all. I still do.



For my little family, we are hoping 2013 brings big changes. I said that last year and while we had some big changes (10 weeks of law enforcement academy for Hubby was HUGE), they weren't what we were expecting. Right now everything we own is in some type of disrepair, our finances need an overhaul, and Hubby is looking to move forward in his career in a new capacity. BIG CHANGES. We hope.

Even if we weren't looking at big changes, this world is just too much. Too much tragedy, too much despair, too much sin, too much heartache, too much "too much." We own too much, we want too much, we eat too much, we watch too much, and we are going too much. Sound familiar? I'm certain many of you feel this way too.

As I mull over my resolutions for the new year, even they can be too much. I can't organize every single item in my house (but boy do I try!) and I can't clean every single inch of space in my house, and I can't lose all the weight I need to lose in one week. If I tried to pray longer, eat better, exercise more, read my Bible more, spend more quality time with my husband and kids, blog more, clean more, organize more, school plan more, redo my finances, and get more sleep I would need 48 hours in every day! It just can't all happen. Not at once. Not well.

So the motto- too much. I will set my resolutions. I will dig in my heels and try but I won't be overwhelmed by too much. I will tackle the areas of my life that are too much- too much clutter, too much eating, too much negativity. I will look at them with an open mind and much prayer and see where to go from there.

My biggest "too much" areas:

* Too much emotional distress from people who don't care, don't follow Jesus, and don't think of anyone but themselves. Somehow I've found myself in the midst of many like that. I will pray for them, I will shine the light of Jesus in their lives if I can, but I will no longer put myself or my family in the position of dealing with their issues and drama. I can't. It's too much.

* Too much stuff. I started working on that area in 2012. I've cleared clutter, lightened the stockpile, let go of things I don't need but I need to do more. At some point we will need to move from the house we are in now. It might be this year, might be 2 or 3 years from now, but it will happen so the too much needs to go. I don't want to pack or move anything we don't want, need, or use.

* Too much me, not enough Jesus. Period.

* Too much stress. It's gotta go. I think the first 3 will rectify this one.

Happy New Year to you and your family. May you be blessed with peace and relieved of  your "too much." May your relationship with Jesus grow and your stress shrink. May your heart's desires be filled by the One who is LOVE!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Homeschool Reboot

The beginning of a new school semester is a terrific time to try a new curriculum or program. If you've tried something in the fall semester that just didn't work for you or your child, take the pressure off and try a different approach.


logo

 I told you about a Reading Eggs special here. I just wanted to take a minute to tell you about our experience with the Reading Eggs trial. I had all my judgements ready before we even tried the site. I just knew it would be way too easy for Apple and she would grow bored with it and I thought it wouldn't be exciting enough for Speedy and he'd grow bored with it. I was wrong on both counts. Apple jumped right in and began playing games that she found interesting and that I could tell were reinforcing all the grammer and reading rules. She was totally disappointed when her trial ended.

Speedy's trial was a little longer and his experience was totally different due to their levels. He took a "pretest" to determine his level. Now I had some issues with the pretest. He scored above his level which is great. The problem is that the pretest only allows for 3 missed questions and then it's over. He did miss 3 questions along the way but I could instantly see that all 3 misses were due to problems with the mouse or program. I felt so frustrated for him because he was doing so well with the questions. I never found a way for him to retest so his trial was spent working on items below his actual reading level. I was glad that he still enjoyed the program and found it fun. He was frustrated several times with repeated activities on items he has already mastered. I'd recommend Reading Eggs allow a retest or have an option for parents to override scores. That would've made the program even better!

Speedy has done great with our current reading program. It's working for him and he's ahead of his level. However he will finish the curriculum long before the end of our school year. I think I've found the perfect thing to keep him working.........


I received a free trial based on involvement with US Family Guide Bloggers. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Colortime

I first told you about Colortime.com here. Apple received one of their pillowcases just before Christmas and she was instantly hooked! If you have a child that enjoys arts and crafts, this is the site for you.

Colortime offers pillowcases, t-shirts, and more. Whatever you order comes with the special fabric markers you need to complete the project. The markers are HUGE too. Apple had such a fun time coloring her Party Rock pillowcase. She got a new pillow for Christmas and ran to put on her special pillowcase. It was a fun, mess free craft that she was able to do completely on her own. That's a big plus in my book!



Colortime offers wholesale prices for your big parties, Vacation Bible School events, or summer camps. These crafts would be just perfect for a birthday party activity. With prices around $5-$6 per kit, you won't have to break the bank. They also have a birthday club for kids!


I received a free kit from Colortime for the purpose of review through my involvement with US Family Guide Bloggers. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reflection

A friend posted this verse to Facebook earlier today:


Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

What a great verse for the New Year. I pondered on it most of the day today. I really, really like it for this time of renewal and fresh beginnings. God is telling us something important in that verse. However the longer I considered it, the more a new thought occurred to me. 

Each year I make resolutions for the New Year. Some of you scoff but I love the fresh new pages of the calendar, the possibility of a whole new unwritten year stretched out before us, and I typically feel more open minded at the beginning of each year. So I pray and generally God gives me a word for each year. I don't have my new word for 2013 yet but I have been praying and pondering. 

So as I pondered today I felt the pressing importance of learning from last year. I think it's important to make those resolutions, dust off your feet, and begin anew BUT right before you do isn't it important to look back to see what last year taught you? If you look at the verse above you might be tempted to plow ahead without considering your failures and successes of 2012. I think that would be unwise. If you don't take time to reflect you may just relive a new version of 2012 in 2013. Not wise.

So what did I learn in 2012? 
  • To trust my instincts. God gave me a sense of discernment. It's important. I should listen to it often. Typically my first feeling is the right one. When I don't listen, heartache is sure to follow.
  • Don't beat the dead horse. This was a big one. And I learned it quickly. Some around me didn't get it as fast. DON'T BEAT THE DEAD HORSE. It will not change a thing. It will only waste precious time God has given us.
  • Things can change in an instant. I should know that right? I think I have to relearn it almost yearly. Maybe I got it for good this time. Things can change in an instant. It's beyond our control. Good thing I know God's got my back!
  • Chill out. I suck at this one. I've got to chill out. The terrible things I imagine usually don't happen. I've been clenching my teeth so tightly at night that I'm having daily jaw pain. I'm even stressed in my sleep. No wonder I'm always so tired. Chill out. Chill out. Take a chill pill. Frankie says relax. Chill out.
  • My kids are no longer babies. Sob. I've had to move from the "You're my baby and this is what I will do for you" to the "You're my big girl/ big boy and let me teach you to do that yourself." I mean we've been there awhile but Speedy is not a baby anymore. Sob. 
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Paraphrase Phil. 4:13) Seriously! I should give myself more props. I made it 10 weeks with Hubby gone! PS Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have him home? Seriously.

So there ya go. Not an exhaustive list but enough to show you I did learn a few things. And I'm looking forward to an amazing 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Start the New Year Off Right!

As we head into the New Year, I'm looking for new ways to simplify our New Year. I've heard great things about www.emeals.com from friends that have used the service. eMeals offers weekly meal planning done for you with a grocery list and sales! You can customize your family's meals based on special diets and more. I'm so excited to present you with a special offer from eMeals!




eMeals offers over 50 delicious meal plans and corresponding grocery lists every week based on food style preferences, family size and the current sales at selected grocery stores.  Dinner menu plans include classic family meals, low-fat, portion control, low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, clean eating, paleo, and the natural and organic plan. For more information, please visitwww.emeals.com.
Join us in our effort to promote a healthy lifestyle in 2013. We have created some content that is available for you to repurpose on your blog as you extend our tips for eating healthy, saving money, losing weight, and getting organized in the New Year.

Get 15% off the leading meal planning system @eMeals with coupon code "2013." www.emeals.com



I wrote this post as a member of the US Family Guide Bloggers. I received a special offer in exchange for the post.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bible Winner!

I'm still not super talented at posting the pictures of the Random.org selections but here goes:


Maybe you can sort of see that?!?!?! Anyhow the generator selected #2 out of 8 entries. That means the wonderful Deep Blue Bible for Kids goes to Jennie who said "I know H would love this! Thanks for offering the giveaway! " 

Yay! Thank you to all that entered. Merry merry Christmas to you all!


A Savior is Born!


Luke 2:2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviorhas been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child,he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Time for Those New Year's Resolutions

Whew. Times have been stressful and my waistline has suffered terribly. With soccer, hubby away at training, holidays, and more, I've spent almost no time at Zumba and way too much time at the table. Thankfully Old Navy and Crowdtap have come to my rescue again! I was able to participate in the Sweat it Out in Old Navy Activewear Sample and Share. I received a coupon for myself and one for a friend to pick out a new Activewear outfit at our local Old Navy.

I picked my mama as my guest this time. She hasn't had much time for Zumba either and I wanted us both to feel encouraged to get back in the routine. We had a great time together that day. We headed out sans kids for a nice leisurely Chinese lunch. It was a great time to reconnect in this busy season. Then we headed over to the local ON to check out the Activewear selection. I had tried on some workout tops during my dress sample and share. I was crossing my fingers that they would still have them in stock.

I was thrilled with the selection! The Activewear section was rocking with choices! I was really impressed with all the styles of cute jackets and sports bras. If my budget wasn't so thin for Christmas I definitely would've picked up one of each of those. I love that their styles this season are less form fitting. So many of the shirts were a loose fit. That's great for those of us that want to be cool and comfy while we workout but still be modest! My mom found a great tee style top. I wish the local store had these wide-leg yoga pants but they are available online only. However I was THRILLED that the shirts I had been eyeing were still in stock. So we snatched up a pile of clothes each and headed to the dressing rooms. I know you can't wait to see more of my famous dressing room self-portraits! :)

 My selections. I did LOVE them all!

First try. The pants were a bit too snug. I LOVED the color of    this top but the style wasn't the best for me.

Next outfit. These are different pants but they look the same. I really liked this top but it was actually too big. The arm holes were enormous.


Okay you can't see my top very well but this is the one I was looking for. It has a drawstring bottom and is very loose in the chest and stomach areas.

 Here it is again but with compression capris this time. LOVE! Purple is my all time favorite color so I couldn't pass up this combo!

My mama and I in our return to Zumba! 

All in all it was another great trip to Old Navy! The staff was friendly and helpful. The store was clean and well stocked. The clothes are always great quality and the sales make all the difference. There's still time to head to your local Old Navy or their website to make final Christmas selections or get a jump start on your resolution gear. Make sure to sign up for Old Navy's emails to get their deals to your inbox. 

I received an Old Navy coupon from Crowdtap for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.


Free Glasses!


"The old opinion that glasses are only necessities for people with vision problems has already gone. Glasses are increasingly becoming a fad and must-have accessories for  celebs and fashionistas. Everyday we can spot millions of non prescription glasses wearers and we are constantly fascinated by many noted film stars’ signature non prescription glasses.They instantly upgrade your look of modern,sexy, vintage or geek by wearing different styles of frames.
Any hot glasses/sunglasses /goggles frames you want can be found on Firmoo, and all are available for both prescription lenses and non-prescription lenses. Are you desperate to have a new look? Now here is the chance, Firmoo has launched a First Pair Free Program to people  worldwide. You will absolutely fall in love with the excellent quality, affordable prices, fashionable designs, fast delivery and the good service after trying them with paying shipping only! You even can get a refund/exchange if you are not satisfied with them. It's totally Risk free, so why not have a try? "


With a tight budget, glasses can quickly fall to the very bottom of the wishlist. I got my eyes checked back in the fall but just recently ordered a new pair of glasses. I was in need of some new ones since my old ones were a couple of years old and my prescription had changed. I was so excited to hear of Firmoo! Firmoo offers a wide selection of eyewear in all the latest styles. They offer frames for men, women, designer frames, sunglasses, and more. It could be overwhelming to delve through all those choices but Firmoo has an excellent website that is easy to navigate. You can choose styles based on the categories above, by shape, by material, or by size. Another excellent feature of their website is the Virtual Try-On System. With it you are sure to find your perfect pair!

Here are the ones I picked:












Aren't they cute? You can find the same pair here. They even came with little clip on sunglasses. I want to reject that addition due to age, cool factor, etc but I'm actually thinking it will really come in handy! Especially since I don't currently have any prescription sunglasses. With the prices on Firmoo, it won't be long before I own a pair! Until then my little clip ons will work just fine. In the car. When no one is looking. :)

I know you want to see how great they look on my face so here ya go:









So I don't want you to put off ordering yourself a pair of needed glasses! Check out Firmoo now! You can find a good pair of glasses like mine and you get your first pair free (you pay s/h)! They will send you an email with shipping info after your order is placed. If you have any trouble their customer service will be happy to help you. My only wish is that I had ordered mine sooner!

I received a free pair of glasses from Firmoo for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Restless

I'm restless. Ill at ease. Uncomfortable. I don't know why.


I've watched my husband graduate from the law enforcement academy after 10 long weeks. I saw him receive a special award. I cried with joy and pride.



I enjoyed a couple of days out of town. Enjoyed time in Nashville (one of my favorite places ever).


I had a great time at a wonderful birthday party for my mom who is celebrating a new decade. I watched my precious, beautiful babies perform in an amazing church Christmas program. I've completed the decorating, the Christmas cards, the shopping, the wrapping, and more. 

Even with all of that I'm restless. I'm blessed beyond measure, joyful beyond belief, but something just isn't right. 

I was deeply saddened by the Sandy Hook tragedy. I've prayed for those families (including the gunman's family) and I've wept for them. To be honest though, I've been overwhelmed with all the coverage. We've carefully shielded our children from the information (a home school blessing). It's not as easy to shield ourselves. Constant coverage on television, the paper, the radio, Facebook, and other social media outlets. It's too much. I imagine the families think it's too much. Even the well meaning stories are too much. 

Even worse than all of that is the hate and bitterness that is being spewed amongst "friends." Anger at a situation, disbelief at the evil in the world has pitted friend against friend. Christian against Christian. Brother against brother. No matter which side of the issues you stand on, I hope you are aware that guns and mental illness aren't where the fight lies. The fight doesn't stem from school security or parental involvement. We need to stop pointing fingers. We need to quit calling one another the enemy. There is but one enemy.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

In other words, we aren't fighting one another. Or we shouldn't be. We are fighting evil. We are fighting Satan. Take away the guns, (PS I DO NOT AGREE that my constitutional right to bear arms should be changed at all) evil will still exist. Put an armed officer in every single school in America, evil will still exist. Pull all children from public school and home school them all (would love to see that happening but know it isn't possible for most families), evil will still exist. Fight each other, spew venom and hatred on Facebook, evil will still exist. 

You want our world to change? You want America's quick, deep spiral into chaos to reverse? You want peace, love, and happiness? You want your children to be safe? You want to sleep soundly at night? PRAY. Pray now. Pray everyday. Pray together. NEVER CEASE. Beg and plead for America. Beg and plead for our world. Pray to the one true God and bare your soul to Him. Turn from evil. Turn from selfishness. Turn from hatred. Seek Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Pray.


Getting this off my chest may or may not make me more comfortable. It doesn't really matter either way. If I need to stay restless so that I spend all day in prayer, so be it. It's a small price to pay in exchange for Jesus dying for my sins.

LOVE!!! #Giveaway too!



So I told you a few days ago about my love for Bibles. Apple & Speedy love them as much as I do (Hubby too!) and we all have several different versions. Specifically Apple has 4 and Speedy has 4 as well. They've received them from church, for Easter, etc. About a year ago, I began looking for a Bible reading plan for Apple. She loves to read, she devours books, and she often reads her Bible but I have felt like she needed more direction. In all my research I still haven't found a reading plan specifically for children. I'd love a plan that directs her to read the Bible while avoiding some of the.....ahem.....touchier places such as Lot and his daughters. Know what I mean? So my search has been futile. I'd sort of given up and taken to randomly giving her passages to read in addition to her daily devos.

When I heard about the Deep Blue Kids Bible, I was excited! I wanted to know more about this Bible. Would it possibly be what I had been looking for? YES YES YES!!!!! Now I don't want to mislead you, there is not a specific reading plan in this Bible BUT this Bible is laid out more like a story book. It is in the Common English version which is a "denomination-neutral Bible." What I can tell you is it is a version that is totally appropriate for 7-12 year olds. It doesn't take anything out of the Bible text (that I can see) and it doesn't add anything to the Bible text itself. What it does add is 3 characters- Asia, Edgar, and Kat- that will help guide your kids through the Bible. This is exactly what I had been imagining for Apple. A Bible with little facts sprinkled throughout the books of the Bible, tons of resources at the front and the back of the Bible, and in-text notes and features to engage your child into the reading. Want more? It includes engaging artwork from the front to the back. My child is going to read this Bible, learn the word of God, learn the books of the Bible, learn  the background of the books, and understand how to relate those words to her own life. And someday soon, Speedy will receive a copy of this same Bible. It's great for girls and boys!

So the resources are what I want to leave you with. I think it's important to know just how much is included. A glossary with age appropriate definitions is in the back. A table of contents in actual order and alphabetical order is in the front. Beautiful colored maps in the back from National Geographic. My favorite....a section titled "I Wonder What to do When I Feel......" with verses to point our children in the right direction. Y'all it's beautiful. It's an answer to prayer for my family. I'm SO excited that the publisher has also given me a copy for a giveaway. Excited?!?!?! Just leave me a comment with your email address. That's it. I want this to be easy for you! I won't be able to end the giveaway in time to mail it to you in time for Christmas but I want this into one of you hands SOON so I will end this on Sunday at midnight CST. Comment until then (1 per person), share with your friends, and look into more information about the Deep Blue Kids Bible. Now I'm off to wrap this beauty for Apple to open Christmas morning. She's going to be SO excited!

I received a copy of this Bible from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Fever, Feel Bads, and Flu?!?!




At the beginning of the month the kids and I were SICK. The flu has been rampant in our area and I'm pretty sure that's what we all had. It caused Apple to miss her Christmas concert for choir (many tears were involved), Speedy felt awful, and I was dragging. Hubby had his very most important law enforcement academy graduation that week so sick was not much of a choice. I was so thankful for Advil Congestion Relief. It was the one thing that gave me some...well relief during the daytime.

I had a fever, sore throat, and my chest felt like it was occupied by an elephant. The Advil provided quick relief that last several hours. Taking only one pill at a time ensured that the pack lasted me through that looooong week. In fact I finally overcame the sickness and still have a few left!

Advil is a brand I've trusted for years for my family. So when the winter sickies get you down, pick up Advil Congestion Relief!

I received this product from Smiley360. I have no medical training and these are just my own personal opinions. Please follow all instructions carefully. I was not required to write a positive review.

Cold Sores Go Bye Bye



Orajel Instant Pain Relief for Cold Sores is some serious stuff! I get cold sores about twice a year usually following a sickness or super stressful time. It was no surprise that after a week's worth of sickness (possibly flu) and Hubby's graduation from the police academy, I woke up last Monday with 2 small bumps on my lip. That was my first time to have 2 at once. I had this new Orajel for Cold Sores and decided to give it a try.

Hubby had already successfully used one vial a couple of months ago. I read the instructions and followed to apply to both bumps. First off, this is serious! My whole lip went numb. I mean that should have been obvious since it's coming from Orajel but honestly I didn't expect it. The taste is less than desirable which is actually good because it kept me from chewing my lip or licking it. Gross I know but truthful.

Those little bumps never got any bigger! In fact they begin to dry up that afternoon. Within a few days, those small dried bumps were completely gone! No one even noticed my cold sores. I will be keeping a pack of Orajel Instant Pain Relief for Cold Sores in my cabinet for future break outs.

I received this product as a member of Smiley360. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Great Reading for any Fiction Lover





I love to read fiction. Normally I don't have as much time as I'd like but now that Hubby has completed the academy and is home on vacation, I have had lots of leisurely evenings to indulge. A Kingsbury Collection was just what I needed. By well known Christian fiction author Karen Kingsbury, this selection offers 3 novels in one. I really expected that it would be a trilogy type book but it wasn't. However I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed each individual story. With story lines revolving around Christians, relationships, jobs, adoption, and more, each "book" drew me in and kept me involved.

The first story Where Yesterday Lives brings us the story of Ellen as she struggles with a death, a conflict in her marriage, and confronting her past. The second story When Joy Came to Stay tells us of Maggie. Maggie wears a mask of perfection while struggling on the inside. She has some heavy issues to face and God sees her through each of them. Last but not least was On Every Side about a small town's battle to save a Jesus statue in the park. This story was one that I really had to make myself get through the first chapter or two but once I did I was so glad I stuck with it. The writing style was a bit different and using names like Joshua and Moses surrounding the Battle of Jericho Park was a little much for my taste. However it turned into a wonderful story with a terrific ending.

I've heard of Karen Kingsbury many times but I haven't read many of her works. That will change now. With these three stories that are so intriguing, I can't wait to read more of her books! So if you have some extra time for Christmas break or you'd just like some wonderful selections to begin your New Year, pick up A Kingsbury Collection. You won't be disappointed.


I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Be Bold #IASwillyoureally

This is the last of 4 posts I will write this week based on the new devotional Live Second. To learn more about Live Second or I am Second click the links.

Week 2: Day 7 Will You Really?

Will You Really? asks will we really talk to God with honesty like Abraham did in Genesis 18:23-25.

"God is not shocked by our grievances or deaf to our concerns.
Abraham challenged God’s actions and questioned his plans." (Live Second, pg 15)

I tend to be loud, mouthy, and opinionated. It is rare that those around me don't know exactly what I'm thinking. In my prayer time I tend to be a different person. I'm quiet and I throw in a lot of disclaimers like "if it's your will" or "if you think it is best." After re-reading this passage in Genesis and considering Genesis 32 when Jacob physically wrestled with God, I need to think again about my demeanor in prayer. It is necessary to be respectful towards the God of the universe but I believe He wants to hear our true, passionate pleas. He already knows our hearts so why not come before Him with boldness to say "Lord I NEED, Lord I WANT, Lord PLEASE give." 

Those passionate pleas shouldn't always be about us. I want to make my prayers for my husband, my children, my friends, my family, church members, those that do not believe, the sad person at the grocery store, etc PASSIONATE. It's taken years of prayers to turn myself into an all day prayer person. I don't wait for my quiet time or even stop everything to pray with someone. I pray silently all throughout the day. I pray during school time with the kids, I pray doing the dishes, I pray driving down the road, I pray silently while on a phone call with a friend, I pray when I see a need, and I do pray right before falling asleep. I've found that I can't remember all the prayer requests to hold until one special time so I pray all day. Obviously some days it is much more than other days but I encourage you to try that. Try keeping an open line with God throughout your normal routine. And be BOLD in your requests, God can handle it!


I received a copy of Live Second as part of a blogging group for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making Magical Memories








Enter the Making Magical Memories Disney World Sweepstakes brought to you by Pixie Vacations http://pixievacations.com/index.php/2012/12/12/making-magical-memories-disney-world-sweepstakes/
Pixie Vacations ® wants you and your family to enjoy the Walt Disney World ® Resort for 4 days and 3 nights of magical memories. Experience and enjoy the Disney Magic when you stay at a Walt Disney World ® Resort hotel and make new memories at the Disney Theme Parks.  Enter Now:

Why book with Pixie Vacations ® instead of directly with Disney?

Why should I book with Pixie Vacations, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, instead of booking directly with Disney? There are three main advantages to using Pixie Vacations ®.

·        Concierge Level of Service

·        Lowest Possible Price

·        A History of Disney Knowledge equals Disney savings

"We want to plan and book the best Disney Vacation you have ever had. We are not a call center; we are past Disney Cast Members and Disney Vacation Planners that know the ins and outs of Disney."



Details about the prize:Grand Prize vacation shall include the following:
One (1) standard room for maximum of four (4) persons in room at a Walt Disney World® Moderate Resort hotel for three (3) nights.
Up to four (4) Park Base Tickets for four (4) days.
Keepsake luggage tag (one per person).
Dining package includes one table-service meal, one quick-service meal, and one snack per person/night of package.
Valid for redemption most nights during Value and Regular Seasons. Holiday travel is not included. Travel to and from Orlando FL is not included.
Official Rules are here:
http://pixievacations.com/index.php/2012/12/12/sweepstakes-offical-rules/


I wrote this post due to my affiliation with US Family Guide bloggers.

Beautiful Bible



I love Bibles. My whole family just loves them. We have at least one Bible in every room (well not the bathroom cause that would be weird). So anytime I get the opportunity to review a Bible, I go for it! Sometimes I might get a little overzealous and not pay enough attention to the Bible and its intended audience. That was the case with the Sisters in Faith Holy Bible. It is a lovely Bible and I noticed all the beautiful women across the bottom of the cover but I didn't notice they were all African American or that it said "Encouraging and Empowering African-American Women with God's Truth." All I can say is I will try to pay better attention from now on and I love the Bible anyway!!

So even though I would not be the intended target of this Bible, I will give you my honest review and it will be a lovely Christmas gift to a wonderful African- American friend of mine. First of all the dust jacket is bright and beautiful. The cover itself is a rich purple (my favorite color!) and it is a hardback which insures it will be intact for many years. Inside the cover is a picture of church ladies in colorful dresses and hats and that same picture reappears on inside of the back cover. The Bible comes in the King James Version.

The features include:

Bible highlights
A Plan of Salvation
Overviews of each book of the Bible
Devotionals to delve deeper into the readings
Extra note taking pages
Maps
And so much more.....

This Bible is so feminine. I love the light colors, the delicate pages, and the notations of "She Speaks." These are small passages outlined throughout the Bible to help you better understand the females that are in the Bible. Stories of women like Sapphira and Mary, The Mother of Jesus. I believe any woman would really enjoy this Bible. I also think the beautiful extras geared towards African-American women will be appreciated by those women. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift (imagine giving a Bible on the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus!).

I received this Bible from booksneeze.com for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Taking the Backseat #IASishefirst

This is the third of 4 posts I will write this week based on the new devotional Live Second. To learn more about Live Second or I am Second click the links.
Week 2: Day 6 Is He First?


Is He First? uses Genesis 22:1-19 to explore priorities. Are your desires and "needs" first or do you listen to God and give Him everything?

"What takes priority in your life? What makes you hesitate when
God says, “Give it up.” (Live Second, pg 14)

God puts me in the backseat ALL the time. You think I would learn to stay there! I am a creature of habit. I love my comfortable rut, but God never lets me stay there long. I'm glad He doesn't. If He left me alone, that's what I would be, ALONE. I need His constant prodding to get up and get out there to do His work, spread His gospel, enjoy His blessings. It never gets any easier. I wish it did. So many things happen in our lives that aren't my desire, aren't a part of my plans, aren't what I want. I'm not bitter. I'm ecstatic! HIS PLANS ARE ALWAYS BEST. Truly. HIS PLANS WORK! Mine usually don't. 

God sees the whole picture from beginning to end and He has plans for us all. My husband just completed 10 weeks at the law enforcement academy. Let me just tell you, I would NEVER choose for my husband to leave the kids and I for 10 weeks. Oh mercy it was HARD. I wondered if we would make it. We did. God loves us. He spoiled us with His generosity and blessings over those 10 weeks and now we are all better for it. Hubby made us so proud with his accomplishments while he was there and now he has some great opportunities ahead of him. Priorities. My priority is to serve the one, true living God. What's yours?

I received a copy of Live Second as part of a blogging group for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BOOM #IASchild


This is the second of 4 posts I will write this week based on the new devotional Live Second. To learn more about Live Second or I am Second click the links.

Week 2: Day 4 Child

Child is a short passage based on Sarah & Abraham in Genesis 21: 1-7 and the blessing that God gave them by fulfilling their wish and His promise to them in the birth of Isaac.

"How might the way we treat our
families, do our jobs, or interact with others change if we believed
that the God who loved Abraham loves us as well?" (Live Second, pg 12)

BOOM! I think that's how Sarah and Abraham felt when Isaac was finally born. They had waited more than a lifetime for a child, they had tried to do it their way, they had given up, they had even laughed at God when He insisted it would happen......and then BOOM! There was Isaac. Wow. Takes my breath away. How often do I give up on God? How often do I scoff at the idea that He will provide what I am asking for? Let me just say WAY too often. 

Hubby & I have been through a long, trying season. It has seemingly gone on and on and on. I'll admit, I've scoffed at the idea that it will change. I've given up. I've tried it my way. After reading this today, I have hope again. God will bring our BOOM in His time. The BOOM is coming! Get ready! Expect it! Anticipate it! And draw closer to Him while you are waiting for it. BOOM.

I received a copy of Live Second as part of a blogging group for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Smack #IASchildless


This is the first of 4 posts I will write this week based on the new devotional Live Second. To learn more about Live Second or I am Second click the links. 

Week 2: Day 2 Childless

Childless is a short passage focused on Abram in Genesis 15: 1-3 and his frustration that God's promise of an heir had not yet culminated. 

"Too often we
hide our needs or emotions from God. Angry about losing a job,
frustrated with a family member, hurt by a friend, worried about
money, we come to God with if-it’s-your-wills and if-you-pleases.
Nothing is hidden from God." (Live Second, pg 10)

Sometimes you just have to laugh when God puts something like this in front of you and it feels like a smack on the head. We all have struggles that we've tried to be "correct" about rather than being honest with God. I always feel like I'm asking for too much when I just really tell God how I feel. Or I feel like I'm being ungrateful about all the wonderful blessing I've been given if I ask for something else. It doesn't matter if it makes me uncomfortable, God knows my heart. Sometimes even though He knows He waits on us to ASK. To get on our knees, put our feelings aside, and tell Him how we are feeling. 

Today think of the one BIG thing that you are struggling with right now. Ponder it, figure out how you really feel about it, then get on your knees and pour your heart out to God. Tell Him all about it. Put aside any worries you have about what He will think (because He already knows) and lay it all out there. I'll be praying for you. Can you pray for me too? 


I received a copy of Live Second as part of a blogging group for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.



A Blast of Lip Color








Okay so I may not look quite like the full lipped Covergirl model Sophia Vergara but I felt great! Why did I/ do I feel great? Because I have new lip color! I'll be honest, I have a love/ hate relationship with shopping for makeup. I love makeup, I wear it everyday, but I want makeup that enhances the natural look God has given me. I have no desire to look fake or overdone. I also have no desire to spend all my moolah on beauty products.

I've long trusted Covergirl to provide me with products that enhance without looking ridiculous and for a price I can afford. Covergirl products are affordable and usually I can find a coupon to use. They are also available in most major retailers, grocery stores, and drug stores so they are easy to purchase. Now on to their newest innovation.....

Let me introduce you to Covergirl's line of blastflipsticks. These babies are AWESOME! The blastflipstick is a blendable lip duo. This means you get 2 colors on one stick that you can wear alone or blend together. Wait...you aren't going to want just 1. They are available in 13 color combos. I have 3- Minx, Stunner, and Vixen. I love all 3! Not only can you blend the 2 colors that come together, you can also mix and match them between blastflipsticks. I know this because I've done it! I can't wait to get more of these. (If anyone needs stocking ideas for me- here ya go!) It's hard to find a great lip color for less than $15. These retail around $8. Can't beat that price! From pink to deep berry and creamy to shimmer, there is a blastflipstick for every lovely lady.

I had an important graduation to attend last week and I was so happy to wear my Covergirl blastflipstick color. Speedy likes it because it makes me lips shiny. :) These colors will be perfect for those important holiday parties you will be attending this month and they are great for everyday wear. My lips weren't dry at all and I only needed to reapply after eating or several hours. And as I hinted above- blastflipsticks will make great Christmas gifts for all the ladies on your list!

I received free products because I'm a BzzAgent. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh Christmas!

I love the month of December. It's always such a busy month but the focus on Jesus and family makes it my favorite time of year. From nativity scenes to parades to Christmas carols, it's a beautiful month. I've enjoyed decorating my tree and my home. We have SO many Christmas decorations but many years I'm not able to put them all up and out. With hubby's training and time away from home, this is a lite decorating year for us. No outside lights and very few items inside other than the tree. Sadly many of our boxes of knick knacks and decor are still in the attic. We just don't have time to put it all out and pack it all back away this time. However we will have company in and out of our home over the next few weeks so having a nice festive decor is necessary. Sometimes it's all in the little details.......



I was so excited to see Dial's line of festive foaming hand soaps. The little bottles cheer up my sinks! Now my kitchen and my bathroom feel a little more complete even without the usual snowmen adorning the counters. Plus the cute, bright designs get Apple & Speedy excited about washing their hands. With flu and cold season upon us, I'm all about getting them to wash as often as possible.


Dial Complete Foaming Hand Wash smells great and is available in 4 fun holiday designs- Santa Claus, Snowman, Christmas tree, and Peppermint. Pick yours up at your local retailer today to complete your Christmas decor!


I received these products for the purpose of review as a Purex Insider. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Google

Friday, November 30, 2012

Need Safe Email for Your Kids?



 Safe E-mail for Kids! KidsEmail.org is a safe email service for kids and families. Your kids can now have a safe email account while allowing parents to be aware of any correspondence their children send and receive. You supervise your children when they go outside to play. Do you know who is contacting your child inside of your home? Let us help you keep your kids safe online! Safe Email for Kids? We've got you covered! Get a Free 60 Day Trial Now! This is for US Family Guide users ONLY! @kidsemail Use promo code: US Family when registering. www.kidsemail.org This post is part of a promotion from my involvement with US Family Guide Bloggers. It is a direct ad copy and I was given a free trial in exchange for the post.

Praying with Passion



Do you find yourself falling into prayer ruts? I know I do. It can become a mindless task to repeat the same prayer day after day, night after night. I recognize it quickly when my children say the same prayer verbatim more than a time or two. It's harder to realize when I am doing it! I find myself praying the exact same prayers for my children, asking for blessings upon them that they come to know a real relationship with Jesus, that His hand is over their future spouses, that the embrace obedience and love for one another, etc. Well I was ready to be out of that pattern. Then I found Upside-Down Prayers for Parents. Lisa T. Bergren is encouraging you to pray HARD prayers for your children!

Just like other authors (Platt, Chan) are encouraging us to step outside the box ourselves, Bergren says step out of the box in your prayer life for your kids. The book is set up in 31 devotions which is perfect because I'm going to need to pull this out again and again to remember and it's only a short month's worth of readings. Each day is followed with a prayer, a writing prompt for you, AND questions to ask your kids. She even has a question for younger children and an alternate one for older kids. I'm going to read it all the way through once and then go back and do the discussion questions for my kids.

I've gone through quite a few of the devos and while it is scary to ask God for hard things for Apple and Speedy, it is exciting to be outside of that box. "Day 1: I pray you'll get caught doing things wrong- and find the good and true path." AMEN! I mean at first glance we think we don't want our kids to do things wrong, but ya know what? They're going to. We do. All the time. And so will they. I so want them to gain that discernment to realize which path is good and true and to seek it! How about "Day 6- I pray you'll sweat- and learn what it means to work for what's wothwhile...."? Hallelujah! A special prayer for an end to the sense of entitlement that we are all battling against. Check the links above for more info on the book and the author.