Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I finally completed my Advent Calendar. Its been a year in the making... and I know its still a work in progress, but I think it is perfect for our family for this year.

There are so many different ways to make these Advent Calendars and things you can do with them, but the key is the point of them - to help you and your family prepare their hearts for Christmas. I wanted a calendar that focused on Jesus... not just the Nativity story, but the salvation story of this Savior born. The scripture portion of my calendar still needs some work, but its a good start. As far as activities, I tried to do a combination of fun activities and activities that are meaningful and help teach my kids the true meaning of Christmas - giving!

This morning I woke up to several requests on info about my calendar... and I warn you, it is nothing special... quite simple, in fact. There are much more elaborate ones out there with better ideas and more colorful paper, but I know this was perfect for my family for this year. So, here's the info for you to use if you want. Or check out Pinterest for lots more ideas!

This is what mine looks like. I bought this unit last year and finally just decorated it with scrapbook paper. I wish I would have stuck with socks on a string. lol

Inside each box is a scripture and activity. The scriptures are numbered and should correspond with the day. The activities should be based on your families needs that week. In fact, I have a secret envelope taped to the back with the activities, and I will only fill them in a week at a time. I sure don't want to "Make a Gingerbread house" on the same day I have doctor appointments for all three kids after school. That would be a "Read a Christmas Book" kind of day. And if I know a Christmas Parade is taking place on Dec 21, then I will make sure I put "Go to a Christmas Parade" in that box in advance.

For the Scriptures to use on each day, click here.
For the activity ideas, click here.

I also have some other Christmas Resources that may help you this season...
Each year I use a spreadsheet for Christmas. It helps me track each person I buy for. I can set a budget and actually track how much I have spent. Each year I rename the file and change the gifts and possibly the amounts depending on how much we can afford that year.Christmas List and Budget, click here.

Another family tradition is that our children only get 3 gifts from us each year. Other family members buy for them too, but for us, if 3 gifts were good for Jesus, that's good for us! We try to follow the example of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. My sister-in-law shared this with us and you can find the story here.

As a former teacher, I can tell you that the holidays means a lot of lotions or mugs. I try to give Caleb's teachers something practical. For Caleb's homeroom teacher last year and this year I have done Pampered Chef's Celebration Cookie Mix (click here). And I attach a letter that you can find here. For his other teachers I bought a Pampered Chef Ice Cream Scoop and will write "The scoop is in - You're the best teacher in town!" I also like the idea of filling a Pampered Chef Whisk with Hershey Kisses and writing a note that says "We wish you a Merry Kissmas! I have LOTS of these ideas... just call, email or text and I can help you with the largest to smallest gifts on your list.

Lastly, I am doing a cookie exchange this year. I've invited a bunch of friends, and we will all get together for some friends and fun... and of course, cookies! Each person brings 6 dozen of the SAME cookie. Then we all put them out on my table and go around the table making platters of all the different types of cookies. So fun! I found these "rules" on the web if you want to use them too - click here.

My best advice for the season is not to get too caught up in presents, advent calendars, making cookies, or especially Santa. Do whatever the Lord leads you to make sure He is the true reason for the season. That may mean you need to be purposeful about all of this and it may mean you do nothing at all. Pray about what is best for your family and have fun with the best birthday party of the year - Jesus' birthday!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Morning, America! 2012 Post Election Blog

Good Morning, America! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, you woke up and are breathing fresh air… not much has changed this morning, or has it? It’s the day after Election Day and according to my Facebook Newsfeed the world is about to come to an end or people are relieved that the fate of the world is perfect. Both feelings are expressed as the result of one man – really, one man. As Christians, as Americans, that is pretty sad. That all our hope and trust and faith for the positive or the negative is placed in one man. I have to admit, the best post I saw on twitter last night read “Yawn. Going to bed. Someone let me know if God loses control of the universe or something.”

Everyone seems to be focusing on “thanks” for the month of November. Very appropriate! And I saw so many thankful posts yesterday that we have the ability to vote. However, I am not sure how thankful people were if the person they voted for did not get elected. We live in America, land of the free. Freedom not just for us, but for every citizen. That means that we need to accept when things don’t go our way. Do you enjoy your freedom only when it benefits you? Or is it truly freedom you are thankful for? I know, I know, easier said than done.

As for those of us that hold the title “Christian” or “Believer” is means that we place our belief… our faith, hope and trust… in Jesus Christ. Why are we acting like our Savior is no longer our Savior? Don’t be “Chosen people” like the other “Chosen people,” who when the Savior came, they did not recognize Him because they were looking for a political leader to rescue them physically and materialistically. Eternal life through Jesus Christ is still available if we are still breathing. Don’t miss out!

Another thought - do we pick and choose what scriptures we want to believe? And follow? Or do we truly trust God and follow them all. If we believe "Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment." Romans 13:1 We can rest assured that God appointed Obama to be re-elected for His purposes and His glory. Do you believe it? And trust it? Not Obama, but God and His Word?

And we probably also need to choose to obey the scripture that states, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Eph 4:29

God’s Word also says,“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  (2 Chron. 7:14 NIV). This does not refer to the leader, but to the people. This nation is made up of states, which is made of counties, then cities, then families, then people. What if we all stopped looking at the speck on our leader’s eye and started working on the log in our own (Matt 7:3-5)? I can guarantee the Lord is most displeased with some of our attitudes, words, and actions since this decision has been made… and we need to repent!

What if each of us changed from the inside out? Then our families would change, then our cities, then our counties, and our states… and our nation! Would everything change? Surely not… not everyone holds the same beliefs. Heck, my husband and I don’t even see eye to eye on everything, so how can I expect the leader of this nation to see eye to eye on everything with me. However, I can’t change him; I can only change me. What I can do is pray for our president and our leaders.
“First of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  (1 Tim.2:1-4 NIV).

As a child, I was never a fan of social studies/history. However, when I became a teacher and taught fifth grade, I fell in love with it. During that time I taught American history. Along with the good times, I heard of the tough ones where Americans fought and fought hard. They pushed through. They stood up for what was right. Presidents came and went. Economies went up and down. Progress continued. There were little heroes and big heroes. But no matter what America was still America… and it still is. We will be fine.

I am truly thankful for America. I am an even more thankful I have put my faith, hope and trust in the Lord my God. Decision 2012 came yesterday, but not much has changed, really.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Should We Remember? A 9/11 Story

I love the stories I hear on September 11th. Every person that was alive in 2001 can tell you where they were that day... that moment. Today my Facebook Newsfeed has been flooded with pictures, sayings, and status messages of remembrance. I remember in the days that followed, "we will never forget" became the motto. However, I don't think any of us could choose to forget "that day" if we tried.

I remember the events of that day like they were yesterday. While I will share my story below, I want this post to be about more than that. I don't want to just remember the tragedy, but the miracles. I don't want to just remember the terrorist, but the heroes. I don't want to remember only what we lost that day, but all that we gained. But here we are, over a decade later, in the midst of a presidential race, that if measured, would be a large incision right down the middle of this great country. Let's not let this day pass without truly remembering how we didn't judge, we didn't criticize, we didn't put our own needs first... Americans selflessly gave. Honor today and give!

As with many other Americans, the day started for me in the usual way, but things quickly changed. I just arrived to my desk at work and received a call from Brandon, my husband at that time. He was an EMT. He had just finished his overnight shift but was called back in. He told me on the phone that a plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings in the city, and they were sending him there. It actually sounded pretty normal for his line of work, so I didn't think much of it as we ended the call. Just a few minutes after that, I went down to the cafeteria at Computer Associates, my employer at that time, and noticed a crowd forming around one of the TVs. I joined in to see what was going on, knowing Brandon was probably almost there by then. I stood there and watched as the second plane crashed into that massive skyscraper, causing the already intense smoke to cover the skies of NYC. Hours later I would see that very same smoke from my house. Just seconds after that the headlines running across the screen now said the word "terrorist"! Wow! Some people around me were completely glued to the breaking news; however, others began to panic. It was their family and friends, husbands and wives, sons and daughters that worked in those buildings. People began making calls, crying. Then, the first tower fell. I raced to my desk to call my husband... I knew he was headed straight there. I dialed the phone but all I heard was a busy sound. I dialed again, and again. Nothing. The lines were all dead. At that point I had no clue if he was alive or if I was now a widow.

I remember remaining calm. Our office was a mix of terror and fear, consoling of tears, and uncertainty of what was next. We soon received a message updating us of the status of our Computer Associate Offices in the WTC and telling us we may leave for the day. Instead of going home, I went to my parents house. I started to receive calls from friends and family asking if Brandon was alive. I didn't know. I didn't know what to tell them. Hours passed. I slowly heard from others... my dear friend Theresa's husband was alive. He was able to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and make it back to Long Island. I heard that my current father-in-law was spared as well. He was working a construction job on the roof on another WTC building. He watched the planes crash with his own two eyes and had to run for shelter as glass and metal fell above him. My own dad arrived home from work... the Lord spared him by cancelling his meeting in those very towers that day. As I sat next to my phone, not moving from the TV, I still has not heard from my own husband. Every time the phone rang, my heart would race - stories of loved ones saved or concern from them of my own husband's life. So many calls came through from all but the one I needed to hear from.

Around 3pm that day, I got a call from Brandon. He was alive! He lived. God was not finished with him yet. He had purpose and a calling. Also, because of this, my precious Caleb is here today. His partner, however, did not make it. Neither did many of his friends that rushed into the city with him that day.

Two days later, Brandon came home from the city. He was hungry, exhausted, and completely covered in a grayish white powder, but he was alive. During those two days, he rescued. He saved lives. However, so many did not live. We spent the months following that day attending funeral after funeral. Some found, some never found. Our hearts hurt for months.

The story of Brandon's partner is one that I hope to pass down to my children. You see, when Brandon and him were sent to the scene, he knew his wife was in one of the buildings. He went in to save her. Little did he know she had already escaped. She lived, he perished... to save her.

When I think about Sept 11th it seems like yesterday and it seems like tragedy. I can't help but well up with tears. However, I want to choose to remember not just the tragedy, but the wonder of this great nation on that day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The dedication is scheduled, dress ordered and arrived, invitations sent, and cameras ready. Now it's time to prepare my heart. I remember standing on the alter over nine years ago at Caleb's Baby Dedication. When he was born, he has some issues and stayed in the NICU a day past my release. I remember sharing my story, mic in hand, and tears flowing down my cheeks. The night I went home without my precious new baby was the true night of his dedication. The night I said, "Okay God, he's Yours! Take care of him for me." Here we are nine years later and He has. God is so faithful (even when we are not)!

Almost a decade of parenting experience later, and a Baby Dedication means even more to me. This parenting thing is not for wimps. There are moments when I think to myself, "Lock this moment in your memory, Christie," because of it's sweetness or fun. But then there are other moments when it's all by God's grace that I have barely survived the day. The amazing thing that I have realized about the day I dedicate my babies back to God - my/their Heavenly Father, my/their Creator, the Great I Am, is that I am not in this alone. Whew! What a relief that I can stand before the All-Knowing One and proclaim that very thing, and offer my sweet gifts back to Him for the purpose He created them for.

Recently, I was driving with my Mom and pouring my heart out to her in my recent parenting frustrations. She turned to me and said that people have consistently asked her what she did that both my sister and I would grow up to serve the Lord. While some would expect a parenting philosophy or form of discipline, a training method or technique - nope! Her answer is simple - prayer. "I never stopped praying for them." When she left the car I burst into tears... tears of repentance for not praying as I should, tears of relief that indeed, it's not about me... it's all about HIM.

As I stand at the alter again this weekend, dedicating my sweet baby girl back to the Lord, my heart will be thankful that I can proclaim and depend on the One who gave His life so that she can have hers to abundance.

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there." 1 Sam 1:27-28

1 Samuel 2

Hannah’s Prayer

Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
    in the Lord my horn[a] is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.
“There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
“Do not keep talking so proudly
    or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
    and by him deeds are weighed.
“The bows of the warriors are broken,
    but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
    but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
    but she who has had many sons pines away.
“The Lord brings death and makes alive;
    he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
    he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
    and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
    on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
    but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
10     those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
    the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Throughout my life, by words, example and experience, I have formed my own personal meaning of the word Dad. At a retreat this weekend, one of the speakers played an amazing song about God being our Heavenly Father. He told a story of coming home from work to his two little girls and as he walked in the door they would run to him, raising their arms to be held. It created a beautiful picture of our Daddy in heaven. As the music played, I watched women after women grab tissues to catch the tears running down their face. However, I couldn't help but smile. As I reflected on the story and listened to the song, memories of my amazing earthly father took over my thoughts... all the softball games he coached, all the crazy drives we took, all the funny stories he told, all the pancake breakfasts that he made, all the powdered donuts he bought me, all the life he lived with me and continues to unceasingly. My smile was unstoppable when I thought of my Heavenly Father because of the amazing example of fatherly love He bestowed on me here on earth through my daddy. I can't even imagine being loved more!

My amazing Daddy with me and my 3 kids (Haley was still inside)

Later the same night, I sat next to the new daddy in my life... the daddy to my own children. We sat in a Father's Day sermon that talked about true love -

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13

Our pastor asked "What did your father give to you?" and went on to explain how dad's can give the three greatest gifts to their children: faith, hope, and love. I watched the amazing man I married... the one that changes diapers, helps clean my house, has catches with my son and doesn't miss a game, swings on the swing set, jumps on the trampoline, takes our family on bike rides, jumps in the pool, drives our minivan to near and far destinations for vacations, and tucks my babies into bed each night with a prayer, a hug, and a kiss... takes notes and ask "how can I do this better?" There are so many reasons I am thankful that Mark Daniel Rainwater is the Dad to my kids, but that one right there has to be in my top ten reasons. He is always willing to be better and do more to show the unfathomable love he has for his family. I am not sure if my kids understand, or ever will, the man of honor and integrity they get to call "Dad" every day, but I know they will never be the same because of it!

So, to the two Dad's in my life - Thank You! And I love you with all of me!

He truly gives thess kids the greatest gift - love!

SO thankful for how this amazing man loves on Caleb

Daniel is super glued to Daddy

Princess Haley had Daddy wrapped at her first breath

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time to Box

Last night I had a visitor. I was in the middle of dream in which I was removing dirt from Daniel. I suddenly awoke to hear my door knob turn, so I questioned to see who was there, "Caleb?" "Yes, Mom. I'm scared!"
It's been a long time since we had a middle of the night visitor, and while exhaustion was keeping me from moving more than an inch or two, I shifted enough to pull him into bed for a few minutes of comfort.

We spoke about fear, our thought life, and the Prince of Peace. We talked about courage and how God promises to be with us always. I even squeezed a portion of the sermon I heard from Pastor Greg last night into our chat. And while I sometimes get eye rolling when sharing scripture after scripture with this preteen, when I thought he had a enough and stopped, he actually asked for 3 more scriptures. It's so amazing how much life is in God's Word... how much power is in it when spoken. We could all hear God so clearly as the rest of our hemisphere was quite and asleep. Mark and I prayed over Caleb and sent him back to bed.We laid in bed and continued to pray and pray for him until we fell back asleep ourselves.

This morning Caleb couldn't wait to share the rest of his night with us. After crawling back into bed, he fell asleep by changing his way of thinking... thinking on things that were true. Then he had a dream. He was in a boxing ring. In his opposite corner were all his fears. As the bell rang he went over to each one and with a one two, he would knock them out! In no time at all Caleb was the winner. What an amazing dream!

So, what fears are you in battle with right now? Is it time to put on your boxing gloves and get in the ring? You could have a K.O. with just one blow!

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lil Hands

We started our summer with a fun and easy craft project that will last forever.

Haley, Daniel, and Caleb's hands - Summer 2012

Contact paper
Little Hands

  1. Trace hands on the back of the contact paper and cut them out. Peel the backing off the contact paper and place the hands in the desired location of your canvas.
  2. Allow your "little hands" to paint! (smocks suggested)
  3. Set your painted canvas in a safe location to dry for 24 hours.
  4. Peel off hands from canvas and enjoy!
  5. Optional: Take painted hands you peeled off the canvas and put them on card stock... perfect for a card for the Grandparents or someone special!

A special thanks to Carrie Courtney for the idea!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Activities with Kids

Summer is here! Here is an extensive list of summer activities for Kids. Enjoy!

Summer Fun

Free Movies
Free Bowling
Beach – ride the waves
Library – Summer Reading Program
Ride Bikes
Go Fishing
Go to VBS
Costs Money
Mini Golf
Be a Tourist
Go to the Zoo
Go to a Museum
Go to Aquarium
House of Bounce
Go to a sporting event
Make a garden
Water Park

Alone (or Together)
Work on Scripture Memory
Have a playdate
Play a board game
Play cards
Practice a Sport
Work on Summer Scrapbook
Take some pictures
Make a picture
Draw with chalk
Make a card for someone
Write a letter
Write a poem
Write a song
Send an email to a relative or friend
Read a book or a chapter
Read to your siblings
Clean your room
Call a relative
Play a computer game
Play on Swing Set
Play on Trampoline
Give the dog a bath
Play Fetch with the dog
Wash the car
Build an indoor fort
Make something out of Recycle Bin
Playdough – make it & play with it
Ride your bike
Ride your scooter
Watch a TV show
Watch a DVD
Go on a treasure hunt in the backyard
Make a movie
Make a collage from old magazines
Play with your toys
Go on a virtual field trip
Make a Bucket List
Invent a new vacation destination
Write a book
Make a Comic Book
Do a science experiment
Plan the perfect vacation
Have a friend over
Slip and Slide or Spinkler
Make a Tic Tac Towel (Chalk)
Lemonade Stand

Help Mommy
(You can earn $.25 for each chore you complete thoroughly and with a good attitude)
Load dishwasher
Empty dishwasher
Do laundry
Fold laundry
Wash windows and mirror
Put away groceries


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

KidsEmail to Save the Day!

For the past year Caleb has repeatedly asked me to start emailing. At first I thought it was a great idea and went right to Google to get him a gmail account. I quickly realized that he was too young to even legally have one. But as I went through the process I became aware that it was for his protection. My spam box is consistently filled with inappropriate and immoral words, pictures, and links. In addition to my spam, occasionally one of these emails actually makes it to my inbox. This brought the realization that email, which is such a wonderful tool to communicate, can also be used to lure my son to places with lifelong repercussions.
A few weeks ago, Caleb revisited the topic of email with me, and so I started to research. I was thrilled when I found KidsEmail. I started with their free 30 trial to see if it was a good fit for us, and I quickly fell in love with the site. It is extremely easy to use and keeps Caleb safe while using email. One of my favorite benefits is that I control the levels of protection. As this is a new privilege of Caleb's, I currently have set stronger controls. However as he gets older and proves himself to make wise choices, I can slowly ease back allowing him to gain more responsibility. For example, I have set specific contacts in his address book that he can send to or receives emails from. Anyone else that sends an email will first come to my personal inbox for approval. In addition, the program will filter out any inappropriate words or images. You can find the full list of features here.
When Caleb was a preschooler, I would teach him to "run from temptation." I literally would grab him by the hand when he was about to get into mischief and would would run to another spot. I love that this tool completely removes the temptation and still allows Caleb to grow in communication and technology while having fun. Try out KidsEmail today... it's free for 30 days... and tell me what you think!

Friday, April 20, 2012

An Apology and Some Lessons

Looking back on my childhood I can easily remember so many "quotes" my mother would repeatedly say, and I am so thankful they have stuck with me over the years. I wish I would more consistently act on all the wisdom she poured into me. One statement she repeated was, "Never say 'never,' or 'always' because few things in life fit into never or always." Well, in my post yesterday I made a blanket statement about the teachers at the school I taught in here in SC.  It was wrong. I am SO thankful my friend from there came to me with her offense and that I was able to apologize to her personally. I would also like to do so publicly - to her and anyone else I may have offended by my blanket statement. I am so thankful she offered forgiveness. I was also thankful for the opportunity to share in more detail how I truly felt. You see, teaching here is SC was actually an amazing experience. I had never taught before with such a "team" of teachers on my 5th grade level. They truly worked together to make sure we produced amazing lessons. They truly loved their students as their own and did have high expectations of their students as well. What I should have stated yesterday was that there were several teachers within the school that had lower expectations. I had one student in particular, that before I even met him, some teachers came up to me and apologized I had him and wished me luck. He was a challenge for sure and I don't know their heart or motive or exactly what they meant by it... I just felt that their expectation of him, as well as others in my class, was not one of success for his future. I am so thankful for the amazing teachers and coaches and other employees who befriended me then and took me under their wings and showed me how to love and teach. I should NOT have put a blanket statement like that in writing because it’s not true. I hope all the teachers from the school... and in all schools, look to teachers like those who truly love and teach like they do!
So, with this apology comes two lessons. First, watch out for blanket statements! Second, if someone offends you, go to them! I cannot tell you how thankful I am that this friend came to me. She is awesome! How many times do we get "offended" and then just hold in that offense? or act inappropriately on it? You have got to be brave and strong to choose the right thing and go to the person with your offense and allow them to make it right, if they so choose. I am so thankful to have been on the other end of it this time... to be able to correct myself and make things right and hold on to a friendship that I cherish instead of losing a friendship over miscommunication. But next time I am offended, I hope to be brave and strong to confront in love (just like she did) and allow others the opportunity to make things right (but forgive no matter what).  I know we have all said or done things we wish we could take back... but we can't. However, we can always own it and make it right... Forgiveness is so freeing when given and received!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wife Challenge

    Yesterday was quite the busy day... 3 children, work, a short "break" of playing with my three wonderful monkey's outside including a baseball catch with my son while making dinner, eating, then packing the kiddos in the car and heading to a leader meeting at church. I sat down on the couch for the first time around 10 o'clock. Since the birth of my third, I have chosen for life to slow down for our family, but it just happened to be one of those days. Well, as my bottom hit the couch I realized the kitchen was clean, the dishes were done, the table was wiped down, the toys were put away and even the unfolded laundry has disappeared into their respective drawers. Ahhhhhh, my husband. Yes, he is wonderful!
    This  morning I was thinking of how I can thank him and publicly praise him. I was about to put a post on Facebook and then thought, "All those poor women whose husbands don't help around the house will think evil thoughts... I better not." However, the Lord tells me to respect my husband (Eph 5:33), to love him (John 13:34), to encourage him and build him up (1 Thess 5:11), pray for him (1 Tim 2:1)... (and every other command in the Bible - not just because he is my husband, but because he is a person, a creation of God's). So, I am still going to post.
    I have decided to write this little blog to go along with it though. You see, my husband has faults too. The difference is that in our house, we forgive easily, we forgive quickly, we forgive often, and we forgive freely. There is no need to rant and rave to my girlfriends when he drives me crazy because once you forgive those emotions and feelings quickly drift and the promises made to each other stand firm.
Believe it or not, every else's husband is just like mine... they all have strengths and weakness. His strength may not be housework. It may be words or being a good provider or planning family events, etc. Actually, you may not even know what his gifts is... have you prayed the Lord reveal it to you? Have you sought out his strengths (or just focused on his weaknesses)? And then once you know it, have you encouraged him in it?
    Mark and I do our best to operate like a team. Team players cover each other... get their back. We understand we both have sin we are dealing with... weakness to overcome. We help and encourage each other through those instead of throwing stones. But when our team mate gets a good hit, we cheer cheer cheer! It's amazing what a little encouragement can do.
    When I left teaching at an amazing school in NY (at the time I taught, the district was #7 in the country) and moved to Rock Hill, SC there was a huge difference in the schools. One of the biggest differences I saw was the expectation level. In my old school the kids were expected to do amazing, go to college and become world changers. In this new school where some of my students had chickens... yes chickens... people hoped they would graduate. Why!?!?! Well, I had no intentions of changing my expectations for my students. I expected them all to become world changers as well... I knew it and they knew it. I didn't nag them to death, show my disappointment when they failed, push them to tears. Nope! I encouraged and cheered them on. If they got a D or below on a test, I made them write me a paper on the topic they failed. If that didn't bring in a higher grade then rewrote it again. We would do it until they knew the material and their grade was up. They know my motto - "I refused to let you fail!" I made as many lessons as I could as amazing as I could so they could remember, understand, reapply, and reinvent as much as they could. Do we do this for our husbands? Do we cheer them on? Do we help them when they fail? Do we never give up on them? Do we make life amazing for them?
    Mark makes it easy for me to praise him in so many areas, but I truly feel that I do my best to make it easy for him to succeed in every area of life as well. I'm bringing on a challenge for myself and all you readers out there: Find, search and discover as many strengths as possible in our husbands and let's spend this week being their biggest cheerleader!
    One more last thought - don't put your trust in your husband. You can trust him, but don't put your trust IN him. He will fail you at times, and unmet expectations can cause frustration. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) Allow God to meet all your needs and obey Him in the way your love your husband.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hope, Want, Expectation

I did my best to go into today with a smile and a positive attitude. On days where Caleb is gone I kind of feel like the character Eeyore... mopey and with a cloud over my head. I have prayed the Lord takes that from me and have tried to" think of true things" (Philippians 4:8), but with him gone all of Spring Break I knew it my be an extra challenge. I was thrilled when this morning started on a right foot and a smile on my face, but by 11 am things had changed. Two phone calls later I was left feeling frustrated.

The first call was from Marriott about our summer vacation. I was hoping they would be able to change the dates on the non-refundable vacation deal I booked with them months and months ago. However, Hilton Head in summer is completely booked, and it was not going to happen. This, in turn, now meant that I was going to have to choose between our family vacation and my cousin's wedding in Las Vegas. Ugh! Next was a call I placed into work....

And speaking of work, have I ever mentioned what I do? Cause I truly love it! I am a Senior Consultant with The Pampered Chef. I recently watched a clip of a video in which a woman shared that she is an "Ambassador of Heaven" and that her home is the "Embassy." I LOVE it! And that is truly what I feel I do - help people make quick, delicious, and healthy meals so that I can do what's important - gather around the table and do life together. I truly treasured family meal time growing up and hold it at utmost importance for our family as well. I love that I get to help others do the same!

...I called The Pampered Chef home office with a question about an international guest present at a party last Friday that wanted to try out the Pampered Chef business and do what I do too. She was so sweet, and I would love to have her on my team. Unfortunately, she will need to be referred to The Pampered Chef in Canada.

So there I was, completely frustrated and disappointed that things did not work out the way I hoped, wanted, and expected. Soon after I heard the Lord's gentle whisper that His plans are SO much better than my plans. Peace came over me and I knew that our vacation was just when it needed to be and that things were best for this soon to be consultant if she signed up in Canada. As my faith grew I wondered how much longer it would take until that TRUST was my first reaction instead of a delayed reaction. I wonder if it's even possible this side of heaven. I grabbed my "Journal of Thanks" and thanked the Lord for unanswered prayer, hope, wants, and expectations. My desire is to trust my loving heavenly Father right away, but for now, I will do my best to allow that emotion of frustration to direct my trust to Him and His best for me. I know that His plans for me are so much better than what I could hope, want or expect.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Are we going to church and doing church or BEING the church?

Matthew 28:19
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Arise Message

This past Thursday I had the privilege of speaking to our Sisterhood Evenings and Sisterhood Mornings women's ministry life groups. These women are truly amazing, and it was an honor to share with them. Sisterhood Evenings missions outreach is to a women's seminary in Pakistan. We are sending the messages to them, so it was recorded this past week. I pray it blesses them and maybe you too.

May your eyes open to the love of the Lord and your passion for Him ignite as you listen along.

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