Posted in family/marriage, for the family, making a difference, things to do this month

8 things to do this October

It’s hard to believe that October is already here! To sound a bit cliche…where did the time go?

Looking for some fun activities to celebrate the beginning of the fall season? Check out these eight suggestions.

Enjoy the leaves. Go for a walk (or a hike if you live near a forest or the mountains) and see the vibrant colors on display, courtesy of an amazing Creator! Or, if you have kiddos (or are a kid-at-heart yourself!) take a leap into a pile of leaves. Snap photos of the leaves before they completely disappear. Want to preserve these colorful pieces of art? Check out the instructions here for how to join your children in a craft project to press and preserve leaves.

Make some pumpkin muffins with your kids. Choose festive fall cupcake wrappers and freeze the extra ones, two to a bag, so that your family can enjoy the muffins all month long. Below is our family’s favorite pumpkin muffin recipe.

Note: For those with food allergies, the eggs can be replaced with egg replacer (we use the Ener-G), the milk replaced by Rice Dream rice milk or another dairy substitute, and the flour can be replaced by a gluten-free variety (we use King Arthur gluten free all-purpose baking mix).

1/2 cap vanilla

2 C. flour

2 Eggs (or egg replacer)

1 cube of butter softened

3/4 c. pumpkin

3/4 c. milk (or rice milk)

3/4 c. sugar

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of pumpkin pie spice (optional)

1 tsp baking powder*

1/2 tsp. baking soda*

*if these ingredients are not already included in the gluten free baking mix you use

Bake at 340 degrees for about 15-16 minutes.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Take a bike ride. Our family loves riding our bikes on the numerous trails near our home. Once October hits, time for bike-riding is at a premium with the shorter and colder days, so take advantage of those last lingering sun rays and the brilliant fall foliage.

Think about a new exercise program indoors. The cold and long (in some parts of the US) winters are perfect for thinking about and acting upon a new indoor exercise program. Of course, be sure to check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise. The options are numerous, including joining a gym and participating in indoor cycling classes, weight training programs, or water aerobics classes. Or, if you prefer, hang out at home with a video, a stationary bike or treadmill, or develop your own dance routine. Make it a family event by encouraging your spouse and kids to join in getting healthy with you.

Snuggle beneath a heated throw and read that new book you’ve had your eye on. October is National Book Month and is the perfect time to take a much-needed break, even if it’s only for a few hours a week, to indulge in your favorite genre.

Read a book to your kiddos. When my girls were little, I had a couple of the books we read together completely memorized, and could literally read them with my eyes closed. Whether an old book that they’ve heard a million times or a brand new book courtesy of a trip to the library, take the time to read to your kids. And not just in October, but all year long. The benefits of reading to our children are numerous, and they foster a closeness that can’t be duplicated.

Show the love of Christ to the least of these. Start thinking about Operation Christmas Child. Collection week this year is November 14-21, but as we all know, time zips past faster than ever these days, so grab your family and go shopping this Christmas (a bit early!). Our family has a tradition where we shop for the children the last Saturday in October.

Operation Christmas Child provides boxes of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to underprivileged children in other countries. Not only that, but through these boxes, precious children have an opportunity to know the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.

You can even build a shoebox online if you’re crunched for time.

All of the information for this amazing ministry can be found here. Please take special note of the items allowed (and not allowed!) in the shoeboxes.

Put together a foster care kit. According to the most recent data, there are over 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S.

Many people will be able to foster a child. Some will be able to adopt a child from foster care. And several will be able to help provide clothing and toys to children in foster care.

A friend of mine who works with foster children and their foster parents told me today that some children arrive in their foster homes with nothing. Some have no clothing, not even underwear or pajamas.

Put together a foster care kit for children placed in emergency foster care by providing the following: new or gently used clothing, a new toy (stuffed animal, coloring books and crayons, etc.), a book, and a new toothbrush/toothpaste combo. Deliver the kit to your local family services agency.

Have a blessed October!


Before you go, check out these other posts!

How to become an undercover prayer warrior

Conquering the joy zappers of life

Momlife part 1, the big truck

Movie Monday: Little Women

Who are you behind the screen?

14 things for girls to consider before dating

What to stock up on this winter

15 verses for strength in challenging times

Posted in family/marriage, Growing in the Lord, Miscellanous how-to, motherhood, parenting

14 things for girls to consider before dating

14 things for girls to consider

As a mom of daughters, we’ve had many great discussions about things to consider before they choose to date someone.

Everyone will have their own personal likes/dislikes. For example, my girls have mentioned they would never date someone who has a man bun, wears skinny jeans, or has body piercings.

While hair, clothing styles, and body piercings are all a matter of preference, some things are non-negotiable, and while we need to remember no one is perfect, being aware of the following attributes (or lack thereof) will help you make a more informed choice before you choose to date someone.

Below are 14 things to consider before dating that cute guy.

1. How is his faith walk? Is he growing in Christ? Is he living out his faith? Is he unashamed of his faith? Does he pray with and for you? Is his faith an important part of his life? Does he “walk the walk and talk the talk”?

Romans 12 2

2. How does he spend his time? We have become a world obsessed with technology. While that’s not bad in and of itself, if you are contemplating dating someone who has an addiction to video games or is constantly on his phone or social media, you might want to think twice about whether there would be any room in his life for you. As a matter of fact, a name has been given to cell phone addiction: “nomophobia”. According to techjury.net, “66% of the world’s population shows signs of nomophobia.” And gaming and cell phone addiction aren’t the only addictions to be wary of.

And while video games, social media, and time spent on a cell phone are fine in moderation, look for someone who spends his spare time doing productive things.

3. What is his standard for music, books, and movies? What does he allow to fill his mind? What does he allow his eyes to see and his ears to hear? What goes in will come out in his attitude, personality, and the way he treats others.

4. Speaking of how he treats others, how does he treat…

Your family? A guy who wants nothing to do with your family is a guy to avoid. In addition, a guy who won’t allow you to spend time with your family could have possessive and abusive tendencies.

His family? Some people come from dysfunctional homes, and as such, the guy you are considering dating may not be close to his family. That is tough and there are many logistics involved in that. But is your potential boyfriend respectful to his family? Does he care about their wellbeing? You can be estranged and still care about those you are not close to.

Children? It has been said many times that how a guy treats little children and babies is a huge indicator of the type of person he is. Is he hateful, rude, and sees little ones as a burden? Does he believe babies should be aborted because they aren’t worthy of living? Notice how he treats not only your siblings and his siblings, but also children at functions, such as church.

The elderly? Does he view them as precious creations of God or as wasting society’s resources?

Animals?  Your potential guy doesn’t have to be a dog or cat lover to be kind to animals. But you don’t want to date someone who mistreats or abuses animals.

5. How does he treat you when you can’t do anything for him? Does he take care of you when you are sick? Is he there for you?

6. How does he handle disagreements? Does he withdraw, get into a raging fight, or blame everything on you? Guaranteed that if you date (and later marry!) anyone for any length of time, you will have disagreements. It’s natural for two people to not see eye-to-eye on every subject. How he handles conflict speaks volumes.

7. How is his work ethic? Is he lazy and unmotivated? Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a workaholic?

8. Is he loyal? Will he defend your honor?

9. Is he honest? Does he keep his word? Does he do what he says he’ll do? Is he honest when speaking with authorities?

10. Does he have a servant’s heart? There are multiple ways to serve others and it’s not a one-size-fits-all. But is he using his gifting to make the lives of others better?

1 Peter 4 10

11. How does he handle your concerns or fears? Lightly? With care?

12. Does he respect you? Or does he coerce, guilt-trip, pressure, or force you to do things that are against your convictions, make you uncomfortable, and/or aren’t safe?

13. Does he show any signs of an abusive temperament? In other words, how does he treat those he is no longer friends with or girls he formerly dated?

One thing my daughters and I have discussed often is the high rate of abuse suffered by young women in “romantic” relationships. A horrifying statistic from the website loveisrespect.org states “Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year”. Further, “Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors”. The rise of cyber abuse has contributed to the problem.

As a mom, this frightens me more than I can express. We can’t see all of the warning signs in a potential abuser, but we can be aware that abuse does exist and be on the lookout.

14. How is his overall character and integrity? One of my favorite quotes is that assessing one’s integrity is done by seeing what they do when no one is looking.

C.S. Lewis

Webster’s defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”. Character and integrity are crucial and a huge part of someone’s personality. Does your potential boyfriend stand for what is right?

Stand even if alone

In our house, we put an emphasis on intentional dating. Not dating just to date, but rather seriously contemplating who to date and whether that person could be a potential long-term prospect. This helps to “weed out” those who could never be potential mates for a variety of reasons, and helps eliminate the emotions, heartbreak, and problems that arise from failed “romantic” relationships.

Other posts on this blog that you may enjoy reading:

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider.

7 tips to help safeguard against an entitlement attitude in your kids

Movie Monday: Chronicle Mysteries – Recovered

Posted in family/marriage, Growing in the Lord, Humor posts

the power of prayer: surviving Papa’s driving

One of the things you’ve likely noticed about my blog is that it truly is random. I blog on a variety of topics and today, I’m taking a trip back to the “olden days”. Back when life was simpler and less stressful, and things moved at a slower pace. Well, everything but my grandpa, Papa’s, car when he drove us to and from church.

It was during those times that I truly began to believe in the power of prayer.

It was just like any other Sunday. My sister, cousin, and I climbed into the backseat of Papa’s vintage automobile. It was already an antique even in the 80s. Lengthy with four doors, it wasn’t any stretch of the imagination (no pun intended) to be able to fit your entire household into the backseat.

Fortunately, only three young girls needed to sit comfortably on the blue bench seat of the 1960 automobile. There were no seatbelts in Papa’s old car, which made the ride all the more exciting.

In the front seat, Papa rode with his bride, Nanie (my grandma), by his side. All was relatively calm as we drove through town and headed toward the highway. As a former police officer, Papa always intended to obey the speed limit.

It was just that, well, his mind was on other things as he drove, like Nanie, the woman who had captured his heart in the 1940s.

My sister, cousin, and I geared up for the upcoming curvy and excessively winding roads through the canyon. For Papa, there was no reason to take corners slowly. After all, the old white car had a sturdy engine and ample power. And to Papa, it was the epitome of a streamlined and aerodynamic race car.

It was in those moments when the front of the car veered around the corner, leaving us girls still around the bend waiting to catch up, that we watched the scenery pass by us at an alarming rate of speed. We were, in trio tandem, sliding from one side then the other as Papa navigated the corners.

Never mind the nausea that threatened an upheaval of Mom’s pancakes we’d eaten for breakfast only minutes before.

Papa slung his arm around Nanie and whistled, alternating his gaze from Nanie on his right to the scenery on his left, and once in a while on the road ahead. His other arm rested on the window frame and simultaneously steered the wheel.

I was grateful for those whistled tunes, as it did help at least temporarily, to take my mind off the times he accidentally went too close to the shoulder of the road.

Nanie giggled and hummed a few tunes in sync with Papa’s whistling. And Papa gave her adoring glances as if they’d just met. They shared in pleasant conversation, seeming never to run out of things to say.

The ride lasted forever, and I closed my eyes around some of the sharpest turns. While I hadn’t yet committed my life to Jesus, I knew from previous church attendance with Nanie and Papa that God heard our prayers.

And when God delivered us safely to the church, I knew for certain prayer is powerful and that He does, indeed, hear us.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the great prune escapade

10 ways to encourage others

fantabulous pumpkin muffins recipe

book news/giveaways

how to become an undercover prayer warrior

the importance of a good work ethic

Posted in devotionals, family/marriage, for the family, Growing in the Lord, motherhood

tiny miracles

Tiny Miracles.png

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, I wanted to revisit this post I first published three years ago.

To many of us, myself included, the Supreme Court decision was an answer to prayer. Most who know me know that I’m an avid supporter of life and a huge proponent for adoption.

There are many amazing articles about the topic of abortion, one of which is the article, “Is Abortion Always Wrong” by Donna Reidland. It’s insightful and well-worth the read.

“Walter’s short life was given a lifetime of purpose.” This quote is from a touching story about how one baby has changed the lives of many and can be found in the article about the precious Baby Walter. I would encourage you to read it, but do have some Kleenex at the ready.

And now for the post about Baby India, a tiny miracle of life.

On June 6, 2019, a tiny newborn was rescued…a baby girl who was destined for death when she was placed inside a plastic bag in Georgia.

Instead, upon hearing a noise, investigators found the baby, who had only recently been born. They filmed the dramatic event with a body cam.

As I watched this video, tears streamed down my face. This little baby, named Baby India, should not have survived. We all know the dangers of allowing children to play with plastic bags, let alone placing a helpless infant inside of one. A death sentence for certain once suffocation set in.

But Baby India didn’t die. She didn’t suffocate, didn’t starve to death, wasn’t found by a wild animal in the woods where she was placed. Instead, in God’s goodness and grace, He led rescuers to find her alive and seemingly healthy.

Indeed, even before Baby India was formed in the womb, the Lord knew her. Knew she would be rescued. He never left her side, not even once.

Requests to adopt Baby India have been pouring in by the hundreds. This precious child, whom someone determined shouldn’t live, instead has a future of life ahead of her.

In a world that condones and even promotes the killing of babies through abortion, this miracle baby survived. No, she wasn’t aborted, but rather someone attempted to kill her soon after her birth.

As I re-watched the video, I was reminded of God’s love for His Creation.

Indeed, He has a tender spot for children. We learn that children are a heritage from the Lord… (Psalm 127:3). Consider the words of Psalm 139:13-16:

Psalm 139 13-16

Miracles continue to occur each and every day—with full credit given to our Lord and Savior. Such was the tiny miracle of Baby India and her survival against the odds.

Posted in family/marriage, for the family, motherhood

5 things moms need

5 things moms needs

Being a mom is the best, but sometimes hardest job.

We yearn to make a difference in the lives of our children. To be the best mom we can be. We love our children with all that we are and strive to bring honor and glory to God in the way we raise them.

But motherhood can be a challenge, too. The baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. The temper tantrums of a toddler. The drama of junior high. The teenage years with all of the frightening things kids have to deal with in today’s modern world.

No wonder we moms can become worn out and tired. I look back at the photos from when my daughters were little, and my eyes are almost consistently closed in those pictures. I obviously tried to catch a wink of sleep any time I could get it.

So what can a mom do? How can she refresh and rejuvenate? What things do moms seriously need in the best, but hardest years of our lives?

Moms need…

Time with God. Francesca Batestelli sings about meeting God for quiet time in the morning before the kids awaken and life gets hectic in her song When the “Crazy Kicks In”.

Time with God is critical. Crucial. Necessary. It starts our day off right. Prayer, then some time in His Word and being still before Him makes all the difference in the direction our day will go.

So what if you don’t have time in the morning to spend with the Lord? A later time with Him, while the children are down for a nap, for example, works too. The only problem is that we, as moms, tend to get so overloaded and busy with our day and all the demands pressing on us from every side that we give what’s left to Him, rather than making Him a priority. That’s why first thing in the morning is the best time to spend with the Lord.

A supportive spouse. Every mom needs a spouse to come alongside her to be a co-partner in raising their children. To be a listening ear. To forge together to make dreams a reality. To be there just to hold her, even when she has spit-up on her t-shirt, hasn’t changed out of her jammies all day, or has been dealing with a rebellious teen and is uber-exhausted. Someone to listen as she decompresses about the day.

Speaking of supportive spouses, be sure to take some time for a date night. Enlist the assistance of a friend, relative, or teen babysitter to watch the children while you reconnect with your spouse.

family 1.jpg

A mentor friend. Ideally, this would be a mom who has been in the trenches and has now graduated from a mom of littles to a mom of teens, or beyond. Empty-nesters work well for this role. A mentor friend not only is there for you when you need her, but she has sound advice (given when asked for, rather than unsolicited), is a devout prayer warrior, a shoulder to cry on, and has wisdom beyond our years as young moms.

Godly older women from church also make excellent mentors.

A best/close friend. We moms all need a fellow mom to text for an impromptu playdate, to call when things get crazy, and a bestie to share a good laugh with about all the adventures (and trials!) of being a mom.

Proverbs 27 9

To recharge. Moms, we need to recharge our batteries. Life can be hectic, stressful, and seem to move at the speed of light. It’s easy to become exhausted and burned out, no matter what our stage as a mom is—a new mom, a mother of elementary kids, a mom to teens, or a mom to all of the above.

How do we recharge? Here are some suggestions:

Take a few minutes each day to put our feet up and relax.

Tackle a chapter in that book we’ve been wanting to read (or have been reading) for the past two months.

Take time to exercise. Many gyms include “drop in centers” for children while moms take an exercise class. Our local gym is starting a water aerobics class for moms while their kiddos take swimming lessons (wish they would have had that when my girls were little!)

Or, if you are the mom of toddlers, put them in a double stroller, pack some healthy snacks, and go for a walk.

Take a bubble bath.

Spend time with the Lord (see #1).

Spend a few minutes on Pinterest pinning your dream kitchen onto a new board.

Partake in a hobby you’ve neglected or one you’ve always wanted to try.

Organize a girls’ night out with your mom friends.

mom friends.jpg

Finding time to spend in the Word, call a friend, exercise, or even scroll through Pinterest can be difficult, if not nearly impossible. To begin, ask the Lord to help you carve out time. It may be at odd moments during the day, or even evening, but doing so will not only help your health and stress levels, but help you be the best mom you can be.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Before you go, check out these other posts:

you might be a homeschool mom if (15 clues)

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

training for the mom Olympics

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

Momlife, Part 1 The Big Truck

6 Ways to Encourage Other Moms

what do you love most about your mom?

how to build close bonds with your kids

Posted in family/marriage, for the family, Growing in the Lord, parenting

5 ways to make your child feel loved

We tell our children we love them often—and our words are important. But how can we put action to those words and show them we love them? Here are five easy steps.

1. Pray with them. We pray corporately several times daily as a family—in our family Bible studies, before meals, etc. However, one of the things I have found especially important is to pray separately with each of my children as well. In those quiet times we prepare to spend with the Lord, I ask each child what specific prayer requests they have for others, for themselves—are they struggling with a subject in school? Having difficulties with a friendship? Dealing with an illness?

2. Spend time with them one-on-one. These moments are some of the most precious. My oldest daughter and I both love to write. We brainstorm ideas together, have “inside jokes” about a writer’s life, and discuss “problem characters.” My youngest daughter and I ran a 5k to raise money for breast cancer last year. It can be, but doesn’t have to be big events. Sometimes the littlest most ordinary times together make the best memories.

3. Listen. Really listen. So many things compete for our attention. Work duties, household chores, other children, etc. When we look our child in the eye and really hear what they are saying, we are showing we love them. I have personally found that the car is one of the best places to strike up conversations. No ear buds, no smart phones, no TVs. Just great conversations (unless, of course, we are all joining in singing with our favorite Christian artist on the radio!)

mom and son.jpg

4. Find out what’s important to them. Recently my youngest daughter told me that she really appreciates when I plan out the day ahead with her. She enjoys knowing exactly what we’ll be doing that day and helps her to prepare.

5. Discuss the easy and the hard topics. We, as parents, should be the first line of information for our kids. We’ve always had an open-conversation-policy in our house where our daughters can discuss whatever topic they’d like, as long as they do so respectfully. We’ve had some fantastic talks about fun topics, but also some great discussions about the hard things: drugs, eating disorders, politics, abortion, etc. Be sure that your discussion topics are always age-appropriate.

In James 1:17, we are told that every good gift is from above. Children are such a gift and a blessing that the Lord has given us. May we, as parents, be worthy.

James 1 17

Before you go, check out these other posts:

10 ways to encourage others

9 ways to jumpstart your homeschool year

how to become an undercover prayer warrior

the video camera is always on, part 1

5 things moms need

Posted in devotionals, family/marriage, Growing in the Lord

what is love?

what is love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—the day when love is celebrated. But what is love?

The world’s definition of love:

Love is a loosely-used term in today’s culture. It is fleeting, and based on feelings and emotions. It is conditional, must always be romantic, is often selfish in nature, and self-centered. It can come and go at any time, and does not think in terms of longevity, but lives for the moment.

So what is love really?

Love is…

Loving someone even though they are flawed. I hear of single people stating they are waiting for the “perfect person” to come along. There are no perfect people. We are all flawed, all human, all broken. Someone will always have little idiosyncrasies that drive us crazy. Habits that are irritating, and mannerisms that are more than an annoyance. But love sees through that. It sees the heart of the person, flaws and all.

Loving someone through the hard times. If you ask people who have been married for a long time, they will tell you that marriage is not all roses and fun times. Illnesses, injuries, job loss, loss of loved ones, money problems— these can crop up at any time. Love stands beside someone through the surgeries, through the job losses, through the grief of loss. It doesn’t give up on someone, but remains steadfast.

committment

Making sacrifices. If you truly love someone, you will make sacrifices that are in your spouse’s best interests—even if it’s difficult.

Not dependent on feelings. Feelings are fickle at best. They come and go, are ever-changing, and can’t be trusted. Deep, abiding love realizes that feelings are undependable, and instead looks to commitment.

Not dependent on what you can get out of it. The Bible tells us to put the needs of others first and to put them above ourselves in Philippians 2:3. Love puts “self” aside and looks to what benefits the other person.

Forgiving. We all make mistakes. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven, even when it’s difficult. Love does not hold onto grudges.

1 Peter 4 8

Primarily evident in actions rather than words. Examples include supporting someone during a difficult time, listening without interruption when they are telling you something that’s weighing on their heart, encouraging their hobby or a dream, etc.

Loving as the Bible commands. Many verses in the Bible teach us how to love others. First John 4:19 says that we are able to love because God first loved us. Ephesians 4:2 tells us to Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” First Corinthians 13:4-5 says Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

1 Corinthians 13 4a.png

Sure, these are all nice verses, but how can we love like we are commanded? Only with the Lord’s help. People (including ourselves!) are not always easy to love. Only through dedicated and regular prayer can we love those whom we are called to love. Only as He grows us in grace and tenderness can we love like He does.

Thankfully, He does love us. More than we can fathom. More than we ever know this side of Heaven. And thankfully, God’s love for us isn’t based on feelings. His love is evident through His Son Jesus, today and everyday.

Posted in about my books, family/marriage, for the family, for writers, Growing in the Lord, Humor posts, momlife, motherhood, movie reviews, parenting

the top 10 blog posts of 2021

I can’t believe it’s already almost February! Is it just me or has time flown by faster than ever this past year?

Last year, I posted 47 posts on a variety of topics including faith, humor, parenting and motherhood, writing, movie reviews, blog tours, recipes, songs, devotionals, and how-to posts. Below, I’ve listed the ten most popular of those 47 in order of popularity.

1. The most popular post last year was how to build close bonds with your kids. The inspiration for this post came from a mom who recently posted a question in a Facebook group. She needed encouragement in her parenting journey.

2. The number two spot was another parenting post titled tools to help your child succeed in life. Our culture bases success on many things. But what truly makes a person successful? And what if we, as parents, pulled the following tools from our parenting toolboxes to help our child succeed in life?

3. This post was my very last post of the year posted on the very last day of 2021: tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Each year, New Year’s resolutions are made, and each year, New Year’s resolutions are broken, some within a month or two of making them. Below are some suggestions for keeping your New Year’s resolutions.

4. One of the highlights in my personal life last year was the release of my contemporary romance novel Love Under Construction. A tender and uplifting story with plenty of humor, its main theme is relying on God in all circumstances. I was so grateful to all of the bloggers who joined me in the Love Under Construction blog tour, the fourth most popular post of the year.

5. One of my personal favorite posts made the number five spot. 28 verses for uncertain times, one of the several posts in the Scripture Series. Amidst the anxiety and fear that grips us during these uncertain times, we must keep our focus on the only One who can give us peace and comfort when all things seem lost. These verses are the Lord’s promises that we are never alone, that He goes before us, and that He is our shield and comfort.

6. One of my humor posts made the number six slot, Momlife, part 1 “The Big Truck A fun post in the momlife series based on real life. In it, I reach back into the past and dig into the archives for a story about what happened when an innocent mom of two with a serious depth perception problem has to drive the big truck while her SUV is being repaired.

7. In the number seven slot is my post you might be a writer if… (10 ways to know). Some of my favorite people are fellow writers. We live in a world all our own, full of crazy characters, plot twists, and made-up settings. Here are ten clues you might be a writer.

8. I posted Thankful for the small things… as a reminder that we sometimes overlook the seemingly “small” things.

9. the importance of avoiding false teaching came in number nine. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern false teaching when it is plopped in the center of an otherwise Biblical-sounding sermon or podcast. Sometimes otherwise good teaching is interspersed with falsehoods or even heresy. That’s when we need to be on guard the most. So how do we spot false teaching?

10. And finally, rounding out the top ten most popular blog posts is 31 awesome movies for your must-watch list. I am always on the lookout for movies for the entire family. Here, I list 31 of my favorites to add to your next family night.

To my readers, thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts this past year. Have a blessed 2022!

Posted in Christmas, family/marriage

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

8 Christmas gifts for wives

It’s the all important question that has perplexed husbands for centuries…what do you get for your wife for Christmas? Here are eight excellent (in no particular order) ideas of things for all budgets that she’ll love:

1. A massage. The benefits of massage are numerous. It relaxes sore muscles, assists in stress relief, rounds out a fitness program, and improves the quality of life for those with diseases. Nearly every person can benefit from a massage.

2.  A book. Does your wife have a favorite author? Has she been eyeballing a book at the bookstore? I couldn’t not suggest a book since I’m an author myself! If your wife loves to read, but you’re not sure what book she’d like, a gift certificate from a local or online bookstore would be a great gift.

woman reading book.jpg

3. A month’s worth of housecleaning. What woman wouldn’t love a break from housecleaning if only for a month? Why not hire a cleaning service to come in for a month and lighten your wife’s load? Trust me, she’ll appreciate this, and it will for sure earn you  “husband points!”

4. A vacation…just the two of you. No, it doesn’t have to be a 7-day vacation to an all-inclusive island resort, although that would be nice (Lon, if you’re reading this, hint hint!) A weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast works too. Ask a family member or friend to take care of the kids, before sweeping your wife off her feet by planning a getaway for just the two of you. Be sure to plan this ahead of time and have the date set in stone, as life gets busy. You don’t want her Christmas gift to get forgotten.

5. Purchase a pamper kit. Choose a day and declare it your wife’s pamper day. She will be ushered first to the salon for a manicure or to have her hair done. Second, she will be treated to a no-interruptions bubble bath. That means that if you have small children, take them out for a Daddy Day while your wife relaxes. Third, she heads to the massage therapist for a much-needed massage (see #1). Fourth, take her out to a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. Pull this off and I guarantee your Christmas will be very merry!

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So, what if you’re short on cash during these strained economic times? Check out these economical suggestions that can mean so much:

6. A coupon book. You may have heard of this one before—it’s a homemade coupon book full of kind things to do for your wife. Cleaning her car inside and out would be a kind gesture, especially if the constant hauling around of children and pets has left the floor in your minivan stained and dirty. Offer to check her oil, check the tires, fill it full of gas, and wash the outside as well. Other suggestions can range from lovey-dovey romance coupons to thoughtful items (use your imagination here, guys!) There is no expiration date, and perhaps some coupons can be used more than once.

7. A promise to grow in your walk with the Lord together. Offer to pray with her and study the Word together. Plan, on a weekly basis, to put the Lord as the top priority in your marriage and watch how He changes you both for the better!

8. Renew your wedding vows. Have you been married any length of time? How about a renewing of your wedding vows? It doesn’t have to be fancy. Enlist your pastor’s help and have a small wedding where you rededicate your lives to each other.

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There you have it. Now hurry…you only have a few more shopping days left! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

 


Posted in family/marriage, Growing in the Lord

Thankful for the small things…

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is upon us. Christians everywhere will be giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness, His protection, and His Sacrifice on the Cross so we could have eternal life.

Psalm 107 1

As I reflect on the past year, I think of the many things I am grateful for – Jesus Christ as my Savior, my husband, my daughters, extended family, friends, health, home, and employment. Sometimes, though, we only think of the “big” things we are thankful for like those things I mentioned above.

What about the seemingly “small” things we are thankful for that we sometimes overlook? Below are a few that came to my mind in no particular order:

I’m thankful for water. According to World Vision, “Globally, 844 million people lack access to clean water”. How many times do we go to the faucet and grab a glass of water without giving it a second thought? Praise God that when we are thirsty, that thirst can be easily quenched.

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I’m thankful I can breathe. According to WebMD, millions of Americans have breathing problems, including asthma, allergies, COPD, and lung disease. This hits home, as multiple people in my family struggle with lung and breathing problems. How many times do we take it for granted that we can easily take a breath? That we can breathe freely and uninhibited?

I’m thankful for the ability to read. According to uis.unesco.org, “Despite the steady rise in literacy rates over the past 50 years, there are still 773 million illiterate adults around the world, most of whom are women”. Whether they were never taught or suffer from a learning disability, there are a high number of people who cannot read. Yet, I read things every day and don’t give it a second thought that some people don’t have that ability.

I’m thankful for those who risk their lives each day to bring the Good News to those around the world. We in the United States so far face minimal persecution when it comes to sharing our love for Jesus. Our missionaries in other nations are not so fortunate. As I read The Voice of the Martyrs website, my eyes were opened to the sacrifices our Christian brothers and sisters make each day to share the hope of eternal life with the lost around the world.

I’m thankful for food to eat. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were both diagnosed with multiple food allergies. At times, it can be a challenge to find things to eat, especially at restaurants. Yet, so many people in the U.S. and around the world have no food to eat – at all. They would love to only have allergies to a handful of foods – if it meant they had food.dinner

I’m thankful I haven’t been involved in a devastating hurricane, earthquake, or tornado. Several years ago, we suffered severe exterior damage to our home and vehicles during a bad hail storm. When we returned home from our vacation, our yard looked as though it had suffered a major catastrophe. Tree limbs were everywhere, our garden and fence were ruined, the new siding and roof on our house destroyed, and two of our vehicles totaled.

A few days after the hail storm, our church was seeking volunteers to assist with the devastation caused by a deadly tornado in the southern part of the country. As our family discussed being a part of this outreach, I was overcome with gratefulness and humility that it was only a relatively minor hailstorm we were dealing with and not a horrific storm where lives had been lost.

I’m thankful for dirty dishes. Yes, you read that right. I know, most people wouldn’t say “thanks” for the sinkful of food-corroded crusty dishes from last night’s dinner. However, I am thankful because if I didn’t have those dirty dishes, I wouldn’t have had food to feed my family. Same goes for dirty laundry. While it may not be my favorite task, I’m thankful we have clothes to wear, and therefore, clothes that get dirty.

I’m thankful for my church family. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to belong to the Body of Christ and how thankful I am that I can walk through the doors of my church and learn about the Lord and share fellowship with other Believers. What is also amazing are the connections made through social media with Believers around the world. I have a prayer ministry on Twitter that allows me to pray for my brothers and sisters across multiple continents in their time of need.

We need each other. We need fellowship. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us just how important meeting together is and that we need to continue doing so. First Thessalonians 5:11 says it well, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”. We are to come alongside each other, assist each other through difficult seasons, and pray for one another.

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I’m thankful I can see and hear. As I sit typing this, my girls are in the kitchen laughing about something. Thank You, Father, that I can hear their joy! I’m thankful for sight too – the snow-capped mountains in the distance and the puffy white clouds in the sky are such a testament to His Creation. I’m also thankful that the Lord opened my eyes to see my need for Him!

That’s a shortened version of “small” things I’m thankful for. As I look back on my list, I realize they’re not “small” things at all, but big and important things.

What are you thankful for?

From my family to yours…Happy Thanksgiving!

Other posts on this blog that may interest you:

15 verses for strength in challenging times

every life if valuable

who are you behind the screen?

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

scriptural antidotes for fear

Movie Monday: Run the Race

Movie Monday: Beautifully Broken