Saturday, November 29, 2014

"I Wanna Be Like You" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

I wanna be like you
I wanna walk like you
Talk like you, too
You'll see it's true
These lyrics from The Jungle Book have been my oldest son’s theme song for the past two weeks.
Isaiah is 11 months older than his brother Micah; they really don’t remember a time without the other.
As Mom, I have dressed them alike or very similar to one another.
So, maybe this is my fault.......
They are now at the age of wanting to choose their own clothes and unfortunately my oldest must be dressed JUST LIKE his younger brother.
If Micah chooses long sleeves than Isaiah must have long sleeves.
If the coveted Superman shirts are available then they both must wear them.
As parents we want to empower our children to make their own decisions and choices and be proud of those choices, stand firm, and not waiver.
We try to encourage Isaiah to make up his own mind and celebrate that God made him special, and that it’s okay to have different choices than your brother.
As I think about Isaiah, I find myself perusing Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Sometimes I want to be just like them.
I look at what other moms are doing with their kiddos, and I compare.
I wanna do that craft.
I wanna go to that Disney park.
I wanna have a house like that.
I am reminded that I have my own choices, and decisions, and it’s okay to have things different from other moms.
I need to celebrate the fact that God has given me this particular time in my life to be the best mom that I can be for my kids.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Favorite Holiday Recipes

       I was flattered this week by our children’s compliments of my cooking.  As we anticipated the Thanksgiving menu, I teased our children telling them so many others were cooking I didn’t need to. They went up in arms demanding their favorite recipes.   I thought it would be a fun to share the recipes our children put on their “thankful” lists.

Sweet Potato Casserole
(The Ballet Dancer’s favorite)

6 – 8 Medium sweet potatoes boiled and peeled
1-Cup Sugar
1 Stick of butter
1 Egg

1 Cup Brown sugar
¾ stick of butter
1/3 cup self-rising flour
1½ Cups chopped nuts

Mix casserole ingredients together and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Mix topping ingredients together and spoon on sweet potato mixture.
Bake 30 – 45 minutes on 325 degrees

Squash Casserole
(The eldest’s favorite)
6 – 8 sliced and cooked squash
1 Medium cooked onion
1 package dry salad dressing mix (I use Ranch)
1 tube of crushed crackers
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 Cup of mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients.  Place in a casserole dish and cook for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Spinach/Artichoke Dip
(My man-child’s favorite)   

2 packages of frozen spinach
(Thawed and drained)
1 can of drained artichokes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small can of green chilies
1 cup parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients.  Place in casserole dish. Cook 25 minutes at 350 degrees and serve with your favorite pita chips!

Give these three recipes a try and see if they become your family’s favorites!  Bon Appetite!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks....

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Psalm 106:1

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Isaiah 12:4

In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Chronicles 16:8

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!

1 Chronicles 16:34

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Today we will spend tons of time creating, decorating, and making food for those we love. Spending countless hours basting turkeys, smashing potatoes, and setting the perfect table. Hoping it all comes together, our kids behave, and that our company enjoys themselves. Lots of pressure, lots to do, and only so many hours in the day! 

A few days ago, I began to think of all the preparation that goes into Thanksgiving and Christmas. The time, effort, and love that flows into our happenings. But I realized that many times, in the fast paced - trying to get it all done- wanting it to be perfect - day - we can forget to praise the One whom it all comes from. We can leave God completely out of our day- not because we don't love him - but because we are consumed with all the other busyness going on. 

So my challenge to you this Thanksgiving (and Christmas too) is to incorporate and create some traditions, into your day, where you can enjoy your kids & company,  and still create a space in time where your focus and praise can be placed on Jesus. 

A few ideas....
1. Reading a scripture verse about thanks. Each tell one thing thankful for.
2. Have everyone trace their hand, cut it out, & answer a question
    on each finger. 
       WHO - Who are you thankful for?
       WHAT- What are you thankful for?
       WHEN- When is a time (past, present or future) that you are thankful for?
       WHERE- Where is a place you are thankful for?
       WHY - Why are you thankful? 
3. Place two kernels of corn (or any thing you have plenty of) on each place 
    and ask each person to share two things they are thankful for - no repeats:)

What are your thanksgiving traditions? How will you incorporate Christ into your day of thanks? Enjoy, have fun, and create memories!  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving and Thanks

I love my Bon Appetit magazine that comes monthly!  In the November 2014 issue it has this whole (awesome) section about “Giving & Thanking”.  I thought about those words.  How many times do we “do” the whole “Thanksgiving” thing but in the rush and perfection of it all miss out on giving and thanking.  It is God who GAVE and it is us who should be THANKING.  Yes, we may pray before the big meal but what’s the conversation like afterwards? 

“Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.  He turned the sea into dry land; They went through the river on foot.  There we will rejoice in Him.” Psalm 66: 5-6

Maybe take a few minutes today to go through your Bible and write or print out some Scripture to read at the table to encourage your guests to thank God.  Give them verses that will help them remember to thank Him for things He has gotten them through this year; for providing; for guiding; for new birth; even for breath itself, and so on. 

“Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.  …  Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard.” Psalm 66:2, 8

Even if someone is going through something that has not yet been resolved.  Certainly God hears us (Read Psalm 66:16-20).

Lord, please help us encourage others to slow down and thank You.  Thank You that Your banner over us is love.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


This week in Bible study we are studying the book of James, and the DVD message camped on: 

James 1:2-3 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Beth Moore made a point that stood out in my mind...
"Many times your PAIN turns into your PASSION"
She shared that she was abused as a child and how that pain  catapulted her to be a voice for others who have been abused as well. Encouraging others with the comfort she found in the Lord.

I started thinking about how beautiful that statement was. How true it is in my own life. How redeeming is our God,  that in His sovereignty, can use my pain for another's gain. I pondered my own life, of having a child with special needs, and how those struggles have birthed a "passion" to start a small group for moms who have similar struggles. Ministry from the freedom of transparency. Allowing my hurts to help another. 

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort - we get a full measure of that, too. 
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 MSG

God's plan is perfect. He is a good God, who knows how I can best represent Jesus, and gives me opportunities to do so. The pain is never fun. It's not easy. But if we can turn it into a passion that allows others to be refreshed through our hurt, it reminds us of His plan that is far beyond what we see or know. Ministry opportunities weaved into the crazy of our life. As we open our eyes and allow Him to use us, we are reminded of His goodness.

What is a pain you can turn into your passion? 

Has there been times in your life where God has used your hurts to encourage another? 

"What happened to me, has turned into my deliverance." - Beth Moore

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! - Psalm 30:11-12

Friday, November 21, 2014

Face Time!

        Back in the day, my Greg and I dated long distance.  We used this very neat invention called the telephone.  It was heavy and bulky and was tied to the wall by an unsightly cord.  We used this system called “long distance.”  Because I was just out of college and had little money we even used the system called “a collect call.”
         More astonishing were other modes of communication.  We actually learned to take a piece of paper and beginning writing.  We would write of our hearts desire to be together.  After folding the paper, we would find what they called an envelope, place the paper inside and lick the envelope closed.  We then proceeded to lick a stamp and place it on the outside of the envelope, place it in the mail…and three or four days later Viola! The other would receive a hand-written letter.
         In an attempt to be my man’s “Sweetheart” I also tried to be spiritual by closing my letter with III John 13 and 14

“I have much to write you,
but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.”

         In studying III John this week I enjoyed reminiscing about these verses as they pertain to our dating experience. But the Lord showed me how our culture is causing me to be less and less engaged.  It is far to easy to leave a voice mail, email or text in an attempt to communicate.  (And forget Skype or face time. Horrors! I don’t want you to see how I look!)
         It is becoming far too easy in our culture of to disengage in individual lives. 
         So why mention this in this “mommy blog” because I am modeling this engagement to our children.  Our teenager and young twenties children, need to see their parents engaging others.  They need to see us meeting “face to face” with friends and others.  They need to see the value of having relationships that flourish and have value that far exceed a “like” on Insta-gram or a new friend request on Facebook.
         I encourage you to keep having playdates with your children at Chik-fil-A and meet with your girlfriends at Starbucks. 
            If I could rewrite the III John’s exhortation it would look like this…

“I could write this ridiculously long text,
filled with Emojies and tone 
and inflection you don’t get,
Or we can just meet at Starbucks
 and I can tell you face to face.”

         Moms, engage with others.  Find time, make time. Give new meaning to “Face Time!”  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Candy Bar Missions

It’s that time of year again.  The hustle and bustle, go here and get that.  It seems we barely have time for ourselves let alone blessing those around us.  Well 2 years ago at a moms ministry I used to attend they gave us some amazingly simple ideas to bless others.  This one in particular has taken off in our family.  

The concept is simple, the outcome everlasting.  The idea is that after you have finished your shopping you simply have your child (or yourself) ask the check out cashier “what is your favorite candy bar?”.  Some respond confused, some assume it’s going to be for your little ones to try, but all are amazed when at the end of your transaction, a little hand reaches the bar back to them and tells them “Jesus Loves You”...  or “have a blessed day”...  

I can honestly say over the past two years my children do this almost every time we check out at a store.  I say this not to brag on my family for I will be the first one to tell you their is nothing good in us apart from Jesus.  But to share that the act of giving is contagious.  The love they see in the receivers eyes has such a powerful impact that my kiddos can’t get enough.  And just recently, my 3 year old on his own, got to share in this beautiful act and be a part of our candy bar missions. I encourage you to give it a try!

Lord Jesus I thank you for all the ladies reading this blog and pray you bless them abundantly.  Lord please use our lives to be witnesses to those around us and allow us to bless someone else's life today because you first blessed us.  In the beautiful mighty name of Jesus I pray.  Amen!  

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

By Fran Maynard

Monday, November 17, 2014

"That Moment" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Every mom, everywhere, has had “THAT” moment.
I had another one of those moments this morning.
You know THAT moment, the one where your kid melts down….in public.
I would rather rush to the bathroom, or even out to my van for some special, quality, one on one time with my little one. But, you see I had just picked him and his brother up from the church nursery.
I still had to go pick up their little sister.
The lines were long, and there were many “sorry” eyes looking our way.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I thought today would be a great day to wear my cute wedges.
I started to break out in a slight sweat….the wedges, melting child, the little girl wanting to be carried, and the last child questioning about his snack.
The trail of tears out to the parking lot was LONG.
Has anyone been there?  Can you at least picture it with me if your child has never “acted” out in public?
Sometimes, as moms we are stretched to a very uncomfortable place.
I tried all my true blue scenarios to calm my child down, and to reassure him that there was no need to freak out because they didn’t have time to pass out crackers in the nursery.
Sure, I was flustered, stressed, slightly embarrassed, anxious, and wanted to just go home.
It was a silent ride home, two of the three fell asleep.
During the drive I just called out to Jesus.  
Moms we need Him.
This amazing privilege we have to train up our children, I do not take lightly.
I fail, but the greatest joy is knowing that He is there to guide me, direct my steps, give me wisdom, and the right words to say.
So, when you have THAT moment, just remember He is there, just the mere mention of His name.
Psalms 46:10  “Be Still, and know that I am God…”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lysa Terkeurst Facebook Post

I opened the anonymous letter and my heart sank. It was from a mom who wanted to make sure I had a list of all the ways one of my daughters was falling short. There in black and white she listed my daughter's mistakes, shortcomings and frailties.

And then just to make sure I took her nameless letter seriously, she informed me she'd be sending a copy to my pastor.

My initial reaction was figure out who sent this so I could call her. Talk this through face-to-face. Assure her my husband and I were not only aware of some struggles my daughter was having but also working diligently to help her course-correct.

But as I reread the letter, I discerned it wasn't sent from a place of love for my family or a heart that wanted to help.

I sat on the edge of my bed and cried.

It's so hard to have someone attack you in an area that's already rubbed raw with hardship. Her letter was like a bullet straight to my heart.

However, it was also a wake-up call to get more intentional in praying for my daughter. I thought about her struggles a lot. I talked about her struggles. I worried about her struggles.

But thinking about, talking about and worrying about something is not the same as praying about it.

I determined to turn this letter that felt like a bullet into a blessing by using it as a catalyst to ramp up my prayer life.

Through my tears I cried out to the Lord, “I will not sacrifice Your grace for my child on the altar of people’s opinions. Of course I want my daughter to walk the straight and narrow path of great choices. But I trust You Lord to write her testimony. My main goal for her is not behavior modification but total heart transformation. I want her to want You, Lord, and Your best for her life. Give me the courage to not just pray about my daughter, but to pray her all the way through this.”

Praying her through the ups and downs wasn’t easy. There were days I wondered if God was even hearing my prayers.

It’s tough to pray someone all the way through a messy, hard, complicated situation and not see answers. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there now.

Can I speak hope into your heart with 3 ways to press through unanswered prayers?

1. Know with confidence God hears your prayers.

1 John 5:14 reminds us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (NIV).

2. Trust that prayer makes a difference, even when you don’t see the difference.

It may take a while for you to see God answer your prayers. But don’t miss an “in the meantime answer” you can receive right away. Philippians 4: 6-7 reminds us of the immediate answer to every prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Did you catch it? It’s the peace of God that will guard your heart and mind in the process while you’re waiting for God to reveal His answer to your request. When you pray, you can trust you are doing your part and God will certainly do His part.

3. Tell fear it has no place in this conversation.

These prayers are your gateway to feel an assurance you don’t see yet. But fear will beg you to focus on the problem more than God’s promises. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

It’s been a year and a half since I got that hard letter that prompted more frequent prayers for my daughter … that bullet that turned into a blessing. I recently visited her at college and could hardly believe my eyes.

She’s a completely different girl.

At one point during our time together, I asked her, “What finally made following Jesus wholeheartedly click for you?” She said, “Mom, I’ve made friends who love Jesus. I saw a joy in them that I wanted. So, I started doing what they do even when I didn’t want to. At first I thought getting up to do devotions was unrealistic, prayer meetings were boring, and listening to praise music, excessive. But as I kept doing these things, the Lord started changing my thought patterns. And when I started thinking about life from the standpoint of truth, I had so much more joy.”

She then paused and said words I’ve longed to hear and prayed to hear for so long, “Mom, I’ve just completely fallen in love with Jesus.”

I can hardly type those words without crying.

I pray this infuses your heart with hope to keep praying. I pray you believe God can take the things others intended to harm you or the ones you love, and use them for good to accomplish His purposes as Genesis 50:20 reminds us.

Read more from my Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotion by clicking the link:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Birthday Baby!
       I don’t know that I’ve written you before, but on what would have been your 23rd birthday – I think I shall.
       I don’t know what you are privy to.  I don’t know if you know I was your mom.  I don’t know if you knew we mourned your loss or had even dreamed of who you were and who you would become, but we did, and we do!
       You are a blessing even though you never saw the light of day.  The consolation of your “too early” departure is thinking you were greeted in Heaven by so many who were waiting on your arrival. 

       I thought of the joy “they” have experienced with you being there.  I’ve had to imagine your care and development in the presence of those who have gone before.
       I wonder how we would have celebrated you today should you have stayed on this side of eternity?  I would have wanted you to feel special – deeply loved and wanted.
       I wonder the roll you would have played in your sibling’s lives.  But less you missed it – your siblings know of you.  Your big sister would surely have loved a much sooner opportunity to love, care and dote on you!
       I’m quite sure your only brother has always believed you would have been his older brother.  A brother to throw ball with and partner with in the gym.  I’m thinking he has lacked a little confidence because you haven’t been with us.
       Your younger sister remains curious of the details of you and of God.
       My thoughts of you include the joy you have only known living in the presence of Jesus.  I’ve thought so many times of you finding comfort and peace and ecstatic delight being with our Resurrected Lord.
(I think this little one could be ours)
       I’ve thought of you bear hugging and bowling over all the other saints to welcome the “too soon” arrival of my younger brother.
       And your dad?  Well, I know he too has missed you.  You’ve made your way into his heart of compassion and his ability to empathize with so many others as they walk the road of miscarriage.
       But baby – you have made a difference – in all of us.  Because of you, we understand.  Because of you, we can relate.  Because of you, Heaven is all the more inviting.
       You just make me smile.  So a 23 year old would neither appreciate party hats or streamers – but I celebrate you –
I miss you-
In my humanity I would have chosen a different plan. But for your sake and the sake of others (both there and here,) you have had an amazing existence.
       Humanly, I miss I never saw your sparkling eyes.  I miss I never heard you giggle and say words like, “Mommy,” “Daddy,” and “Jesus.”
       Please hear me say, “Your Mommy loves you!”  I hope this will be your happiest birthday ever. 
       I will look forward to hugging you and holding you silly Birthday Baby!

       I love you!  Your Mommy