Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training Up Tuesday~The Fountain

I started this post today with one thing on my mind to write, but I think I need to let that thought develop a little more. While sitting here with complete writers block, the Lord led me down a different path.
We took the children out yesterday after being cooped up in the house because it was too hot to venture out in the middle of the day. We had some errands to run, but to the kids delight, stumbled upon an outdoor concert. The children were thrilled to dance, hop and skip to the music. They enjoyed chasing after bubbles and after each other until the large fountain caught their attention. Not only did the fountain strike their fancy, it was more so the children playing in the fountain that they were enamored by. They immediately wanted to go over to the fountain and check it out. Both my husband and I knew this was going to be a battle.

The two little ones were fine sitting by the fountain watching the streams of water jump from one side to the other. My oldest though, had something else in mind. He was determined to get in that fountain like a handful of other children had done. I told my son, “No, you are not going in, so wipe that thought out of your mind.” Before I could even give him an explanation of why I did not feel it was a good idea, the whining began. He even went so far as to pretend to accidently slide off the side of the fountain in order to get in. Finally, after taking away the ice cream that was promised at the end of the evening, we got him out of the fountain. “But Mom,” he pleaded, “all the other kids get to have fun in the fountain, and we CAN’T.”
“Fred,” we gently said (only by the grace of God, because at this point I was quite frustrated with him). Do you see that little baby over there?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“His diaper is about to explode in the fountain, and who knows what is in it.”

“Gross!” he exclaimed. “ You mean THAT could be in the fountain…why didn’t you tell me?!” He insisted that we scrub him down in the bathtub when we got home.

We found this to be such a great learning experience for Fred. In his mind, we were keeping him from having the time of his life, but in our eyes we had good intentions, knowing that he could actually get sick if we let him swim in the fountain. I should be happy I am only facing these trails right now…stepping stones in a sense. I am sure there will be a time down the road when he wants to attend a camping trip without supervision and will not be able to comprehend why we won’t let him go. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll remember the lesson at the fountain. I’ll be quick to remind him if not!

It is my feeling that our relationship with the Lord parallels our relationship with our children. It is so easy to get caught up in “the world” until that soft voice prompts us to “keep out.” We may even find ourselves asking, “Why?” Everyone else is doing it, and is having so much fun!” He has such wonderful plans for us, and knows what can harm us. We need to listen to our Heavenly Father, just as we expect our children to listen to us. HE knows what is best.
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him." Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Monday, June 29, 2009

Marvelous Monday~Kids will keep you humble...

Awww, aren't they cute??? Yep, these cute little things keep me on my knees every day and keep me HUMBLE!I thought I would post some funny things my boys have said to me. They're so BRUTALLY honest!

1. "Mommy, what's the skin marshmallowing out from under your arms?"

2. "I Love You" - (Wes pats my stomach) - "my big momma".

3. Cleaning the house in my 'cleaning' shorts - "mom every time you bend over, I see your...(he spells it out cause he thinks it's a bad word)... c-r-a-c-k!"

4. "Mommy, your hair looks messy". After I've just finished fixing my hair to go to church.

5. While I'm eating some Doritos, my son says..."mom, please don't eat the WHOLE bag, again!" What??? I had 3 Doritos people! And the word again??? I've never eaten the whole bag, well, not recently. :)

6. "Mommy, can you stop singing, it's hurting my ears." (I'm a bird, I sing all the time! What's a girl to do?)

7. Getting ready to go to the pool, I walk out of my bedroom in my swimsuit..."mommy, that's not appropriate."

8. Kissing my little Wesley in the morning..."mommy, your breath smells like Africa."

9. "Mommy, you should wear pigtails, they look really good on Bella." (a girl in his class at church)

10. Trying on dresses for my boys at Marshalls, they were judging how each dress looked on me from 1-10, 1 being the worst, 10 the best. "Ummmmm, is there anything lower than a 1,?, cause that one looks like you're squeezing into it. (I give him a 'look'), I, I just mean, it looks like you can't even breathe!"

After all that brutality, one day, my son Will said, "Hey mom, you look like her..." I looked up at the TV to see ANGELINA JOLIE-PITT on the screen! Blow my socks off! I laughed so hard I almost cried! There had to be another woman on the screen right before her. Only thing I can figure is I had just gotten stung by a bee and my lips were swollen!

Thank God I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made! And so are YOU!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are you making every effort?

This past week I have felt a sadness in my heart because of the events in the marriage of John and Kate Gosselin. I have been watching the show from the beginning and have enjoyed seeing the "reality" in the every day events of their family. I was encouraged to see them speaking openly about the difficulty of parenting and marriage but also proclaiming a dependence of God as their strength. After last season, I was starting to feel a correction in my heart that the way Kate treated her husband was not a good example for the way a "wife of noble character" should act. If they were proclaiming Jesus I was getting scared at what those who are not strong in faith might think about Christian wives.

I have gone through a range of emotion many of which have been judgmental and unforgiving. As I struggled with why this was bothering me the Lord spoke to me today and this is what He showed me. If my husband had not been so committed to me and our family this is how our marriage could have ended as well. I was a prideful, controlling wife, who sought my own agenda and not my husbands. Wow! I was just like Kate. Only by God's mercy and grace am I still married today and actually finding joy with my husband! I am grateful that my husband stuck with me and has endured with me as we have both grown and changed.

The Lord gave me a wonderful reminder through Romans 14. In the passage he says:

vs 12 each of us will give an account of himself to God

vs 13 let us stop passing judgment on one another

vs 19 make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification

This was a great reminder that I am not the judge of others, God is and He will ask for an account when our lives are over. As I live on earth I am called to make EVERY effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. These verses are clearly written to show that our responsibility to our husbands, our children and those around us is chose to let God be the judge and to love others in a way that shows we are making EVERY effort to live at peace. Jesus is the perfect example of surrendering His own will unto the Father by getting on the cross and allowing himself to be crucified. Because of His sacrifice, we can have everlasting life and happiness with Him. In light of Christ sacrifice, my daily efforts (only by the help of the Lord) to make peace and live for mutual edification in my marriage are small in comparison.

Making every effort one day at a time,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

And the WINNER is.....

Drumroll please..."Ladies and Magenta-Men", the winner of the Summer Polish Pick is...

Congratulations DESIREE! I will contact you and mail your polish today!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thrifty Thursday ~ Rain Checks

If you arrive at a store armed with coupons but find that the item you want is out of stock, request a rain check from a manager or employee at the cusomer service desk. The document allows you to purchase the product at the sale price when it's back in stock. (Source: All You Magazine)

Adavanced Couponers: If you get a raincheck during a special coupon promotion (triples or super doubles) the store may not get the product back in stock until AFTER the promotion ends. Unfortunately, the store will only honor the sales price of the item, not the increased coupon value from the promotion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday In The Word: A FRAGRANT LIFE

Have you ever thought about what your life smells like?

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:1, 2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

It is so easy to breeze by this verse because at first glance it may look like it is not a personal application but if you read the rest of the chapter and look closely to this verse it applies to every believer. It is so easy to get caught up in the disciplines of faith that we almost forget the most important part of our life, JESUS.

A sacrifice to God produced an aroma. The sacrifice of Jesus' life is a fragrant, sweet, pleasant smell because it was that sacrifice that redeemed a whole world and anyone that wants to have a full relationship with Him. The Bible provides a very clear concise picture of who Jesus was and who He wants to be and is in our lives.

From the rooftop:

We can imitate Jesus because He was perfect

Imitating Him may mean that we change the way we act and think

Knowing the example that we have in Jesus provides a stabilizer for our actions and thoughts

Jesus was pure in thought and action and provides a pattern for our lives that no other person or book can.

Ephesians 5 says submit to one another out of reference for Christ. A lot of us are kind hearted, sweet women but it is impossible to love and submit to one another if we don't have a baseline of support and encouragement. For the believer, that baseline is Jesus.

I pray for all of us that the aroma that people smell from our lives is sweet because we have been changed because of the aroma of the ultimate sacrifice made by the life of Jesus.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Early Riser

Do you have an early riser? Just because your child wakes up at 6:30 (or earlier) doesn't mean you have to start your day at that time! Introducing: The Light Timer!!! Two weeks before I moved my son from his crib to his bed I introduced this technique. Here's how it works:
  • Set the timer to turn a light on when you want to begin your day. For us that is 7:30 AM. You may have to slowly work up to your start time. For example, if your child wakes at 6:30 AND is upset then set the timer for 6:45. They will only be upset for 15 minutes, but will learn that you come in when the light turns on. Then, gradually add 5 minutes to the start time (in our example we would change it from 6:45 to 6:50) until you get to your desired start time.
  • Stand outside the door one minute before the timer will turn the light on.
  • When the light comes on IMMEDIATELY walk in with a big "good morning!" and begin your day.
Then, when you're ready to transition to a bed your child will know that you start your day when the light comes on.
  • When your child gets out of bed (and of course they will) simply place them back in bed and say "wait for your light to come on". Do this as many times as necessary. You can incorporate Supper Nanny's "Stay in Bed Technique".
Get creative with the timer!
  • When my son turned 3 I changed the rules a bit. I had the light come ON at 7:00 AM and he was allowed to play quietly in his room until 7:30 AM when the light turned OFF.
  • My boys bed time is 7:30 PM. My 4 year old still takes a 1 1/2 hour nap so he isn't ready to fall asleep until around 8:00PM. I could use the timer to allow him to "read" in his bed for a half hour until his light goes OFF. I haven't done this yet.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Polish Pick! And, a GIVEAWAY!

June 21 is the first official day of summer. Nothing better to kick it off than some polished, pretty toes! Choosing a "pick" for summer was a toughie this year ladies. I looked at colors so long I went cross-eyed. There are just too many good colors this year! Here it is without further ado...drumroll please....(this is the cutest name ever!)...

Ladies & Magenta-Men
Look at this color next to my geranium's!Now, I showed you 2 different pictures to show you that this color has a chameleon quality. If you're wearing pink, it looks pink - red, it looks red - orangey, it looks orangey! It has a little ribbon of sparkle throughout it too which make it extra-specially pretty in the sunshine!

Here's how to win this PRETTY color: Just leave a comment. You will automatically be entered when you leave a comment about this post. Drawing will be in week, so chop chop! Good luck. And, Happy SUMMER.

Thrifty Thursday ~ Outdoor Fun

Do you like the outdoors? If so, check out these amazing FREE outdoor programs:
  • Bass Pro Shop- Free Family Craft and/or Free Family Activity Saturday & Sunday, Noon - 6pm, May 30th- July 5. There's also Free Family Workshops Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun. You earn a pin for each workshop you complete and can finish the day with Kraft S'mores.
  • REI's Passport to Adventure is a fun way to connect kids to the natural world. Simply download the journal to document their hikes, bike rides or other fun times. Then, fill out the online form to get a certificate of completion and a special prize- binoculars or a whistle that turn into other cool tools including a compass, magnifying glass and more!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday In The Word: UNDERSTANDING

Do we really think about what we ask of God?

The course of life has many peaks and valleys. It seems,often, easier to spend time with God and really hear from Him in a valley or when we are in urgent need of something. God probably hears the words HELP, I WANT, I NEED more than any other. He hears those words and prayers and answers many of them. His power and compassion is beyond human understanding.

I found a scripture that seems to take what we pray to a deeper level. It is a prayer prayed by Solomon as a young man as he was getting ready to take over the throne. It was a moment when Solomon had the permission and freedom to ask of God anything he wanted to ask.

Here is what he asked:

"So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?"
And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.
And God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.
I Kings 3: 9-12

From the rooftop:

Solomon needed God's understanding more than anything else

We need God's understanding more than anything else

Asking God for understanding brought more blessing

God wants us to know Him above everything else

This scripture goes on to say that God not only gave Solomon understanding but gave him what he didn't ask for and that was land and riches.What motivates our prayers? If Solomon had ask for any material thing he would have received it but if he had done that he would not have received wisdom and understanding.

As young moms, single women or widows we need God to make our days clear. May we all begin to pray for understanding before anything else. Let us know what happens.

I love you,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Training Up Tuesday: Summer Learning Fun For Your Preschooler!

My four year old daughter is at the stage where she wants to write and draw all the time. Several times throughout the day, she will go get her art box and just draw or write out as many letters as she can. Now that school is out, I know that I have the responsibility to work with her on her letters, her name, and her numbers. I made a stop by the Dollar Tree a few months ago and purchased some learning books to help her trace letters and numbers, but then a friend gave me the idea to get free copies of traceable letters and numbers online and just print them out whenever I need some!

I googled "traceable names" and came up and it is great! It has hundreds of names in it's database. You just click on your child's name and print out copies to trace. Each page has three printouts of the name you choose for your child to trace. I have printed out many copies and my daughter loves to trace her name. Click here to access the site.

And for more fun, click here to copy free dot-to-dot color pages for your children. These are easy, preschool friendly pages, generally with numbers 1-10. Plus it's great for children to do while mommy makes dinner and needs an activity to occupy noisy children:)

Friday, June 12, 2009


Here are a couple of unique ways to organize everyday items that seemt to be taking over your home.
  1. Use a pretty teacup and saucer as a "catchall" on your bedroom dresser or nightstand to store loose change, jewelry and what-have-you.
  2. Use a wine rack on your bathroom counter to hold towels, bubble bath, loofahs, shampoo and even pretty glass bottles as decoration.
  3. If your reading material and remotes are taking over your living room, store them in a flat tray that you can conveniently slide under your couch or chair and pull out when needed.

(Courtesty of All You Magazine)

Savory Smackerel

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

A great lunch meal to place in the slow cooker before leaving for church. Easier still; shred the meat and put on a hamburger bun. Will serve our family of four two meals.

  • 6 skinless chicken breast halves (boneless)
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

*The ingredients give it a wonderful flavor. I recommend using a barbeque sauce that you really like to secure you get a great flavor

*Place chicken in the slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worchestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken. Cover and let it cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low (if chicken breasts are frozen). If the chicken is not frozen I recommend 4 hours on low depending on your individual slow cooker. If you plan to serve it as barbeque about an hour before eating take out chicken and cut in small pieces or shred and return to the slow cooker.

(Courtesy of What's for Din Din?)

Mommy Marketing Moment
A BIG thank you to our reader, Ashlie M., for making today's MMM possible. She not only recommended this Mommy business but did an interview and put this all together for YOU. Thank you, Ashlie! Here's a BIG RWAV hug from us to you!

Mommy Marketing Moment comes to you courtesy of WhiMSy Love’s Nikki Mans. Nikki describes herself as a “wacky goofball” at times and a “girly romantic” at others (hence “WhiMSy Love”). One thing is for certain, she is definitely at all times “eclectic,” whether it is in her music tastes, various collections, or artsy aspirations! This mom of 2 adorable girls (Pazely age 5 & Zoey age 6 1/2) somehow manages time to design various fabulous pieces of dazzling love!
Check out her “FunkOlicios” vintage button rings (her daughters’ favorite hand made items that “mommy” makes) on Etsy.

Or how cute would these Pinwheel Cupcake Picks be for a summer time party?
A unique spin on the traditional table place card for a wedding reception could be these “Fork Easles” that Nikki creates (which could also be used to display a favorite photo, recipe, or poem)! Wouldn’t these “Writing on the Wall” be perfect for your favorite book-lover? They would look so nice in your home’s reading nook!

And these are but a FEW of the one-of-a-kind items this busy mom makes! But before you write her off as another “superwoman” whose powers are not of this planet, let me assure you, Nikki Mans is just a normal mom who has her priorities straight - Jesus, Family....and then Crafts! ;-)

Her daughters are in part responsible for inspiring Nikki and these “mini crafty versions” (as she puts it) of her are often found in their own art center (which Nikki says is often a “complete pigsty”...just like hers) or literally under mommy’s feet finding hidden trinkets in the desk drawers to feed their imagination as Nikki gets busy crafting. She says she’s loosened up over the years, neverminding the “messes” that seemed to get in the way of business. Now she views these messes as “too fun to pass up!”

“WhiMSy Love started out as a creative outlet to feed my passion to make, make, make stuff. It also makes me feel very proud to help pay the bills.” And Nikki may be getting more help paying the bills soon; WhiMSy love made it into Greece’s Glamour magazine’s June 2009 issue!

Her advice to other moms (or anyone) going into their own business: “I'm learning with my business this simple statement is true: ‘However much I put into it is how much I get in return.’ If I dedicate my time in creating nice, quality items & take really sharp, interesting pictures & list the items in my shop at a frequent cycle, than I see a definite return in all my hard work.” Just like most of us, she notes that it takes lots of work to be consistent; and the reality of a stay-at-home mom proves that you “can’t just make stuff” all day. There is a lot of juggling involved to keep the house clean, be present in your children’s lives, be a good wife, friend, etc., but “laughter and silliness” seem to help this Mommy get through it! Nikki has become “comfortable with who she is and who she is becoming.” Verses like Psalm 139: 14 “...I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and Nehemiah 8:10 “...the joy of the Lord is your strength” help to reach that state of heart and mind for her. “I would not have such a freedom, joy & surety of who I am if it were not for my relationship with Jesus.” A humble, content woman, Nikki says, “I’ve got my family, my heath, and crafty supplies. What more could I ask for?”

“Authentic” is another word to describe WhiMSy Love and Nikki Mans for the handmade items and for the person that she is. No wonder so many comment on her “enthusiasm”, “zest for life,” and see this wonderful woman as “inspiring”.

For more daily inspiration, great ideas for kids and crafting, or first dibs at cool sales and random specials, subscribe to her blog To shop now, check out her Etsy shop as well!

Happy Saturday!

Free-for-all Friday: Not just another reality show!

We're entering summer, and if you're like many of us at Roof with a View, you may already be missing your fav TV shows as they're on hiatus until Fall. Not to worry~ if you're into reality shows AND in search of some wholesome TV, we may have just the show for you to schedule on those DVRs!

The Children’s Heart Project of Samaritan's Purse identifies children with life-threatening heart disease in countries that lack technology and training, and matches them with North American hospitals and surgeons that donate their time and services. Children's Heart, featuring Cissie Graham Lynch, is a reality program telling the story of three of these children that, without help, are running out of time.

Children's Heart is premiering on network television over the next couple of weeks and we are thrilled today to feature an exclusive Roof with a View interview with Cissie herself.

About Cissie's Heart:
Cissie Lynch in Mongolia with some of Otga's (Children's Heart Project recipient) family members.

How did the concept of Children's Heart begin?
I was really excited about Samaritan's Purse's (SP) Children's Heart Project (CHP) and wanted to challenge the Samaritan's Purse staff to share what SP and CHP are to a whole new audience. I felt it was important to reach a younger generation as well as an audience that wouldn't normally turn on a Christian show. Children's Heart will give an inside look at all the hard work and details that go into getting children to the US so that they may receive surgery that will save their lives. The viewing audince will experience all the relationships that are built, the unknowns to the the family, the heart ache, the worries, the love, and the excitement of bringing children from Mongolia to the US. More importantly, viewers will see the great works of Christ.

What captured your interest in the Children's Heart Project and how did you become involved?
I found out the week after my wedding, to be able to graduate, I had to do an internship. I have grown up with Samaritan's Purse as a part of my life, and as I mentioned, I have always been excited about Children's Heart Project.

At what point did this ministry feel personal to you~different than what you "just grew up around?"
To me, growing up around the ministry of my dad (Franklin Graham) and my grandfather (Billy Graham) has just been a way of life. I've never known anything different. However, I do not take it for granted that I grew up with a family that has shown me the love of Christ and are amazing role models to me. The greatest thing that my Mom, Dad, and Grandparents have taught me is, as a Christian, you can not compromise. Our sole purpose on this Earth is to simply share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ. As I have gotten older, I have realized that I don't have to be in a far off land to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ but the mission field is right here in our backyard. If you honor the Lord and His Kingdom, with the gifts, money, opportunities, relationships, and talents He has given you, then HE will honor you. However, if you do not, then he will find someone else who will.

If there is a family even in the United States that is blessed with a child that has a life threatening heart condition, what word of encouragement would you want to share?
Prov 3:5-6 The Lord has a great plan for your family and your child, and remember our hope is in Him.

Our theme verse at Roof with a View is Matthew 10:27. How does this relate to you in view of Children's Heart?
I feel very close to this project, since I myself have had two heart surgeries in High School. In a sense, Children's Heart is the "housetop" that the Lord has allowed me to share in the light what I too experienced in the dark.

About Children's Heart

How long did CH take to film?
We started the process in March of 2008, and finished filming end of August 2008.

Where was it filmed?
Most of the filming took place in the SP international headquaters in Boone, NC, San Antonio TX, where the children had the operations, and Mongolia.

Ada Livingston (Samaritan's Purse employee), Otga's family members, Cissie and Cindy (CHP Project Manager for SP).

How many episodes are there going to be?
7 part series

Can CH be shown at my Church or is it just for television?
We are looking at completion of the editing process at the end of July, and with prayer we are looking to air this on a few Christian and mainstream media.

What was the greatest thing you took away from working on CH?
The greatest reward was to watch the families accept Jesus Christ in their hearts during this time. When we open up our arms with love and build relationships with these families, they wanted to know why we wanted to help them and their children. It creates many doors to share the Gospel.

Otga and Ada using Cissie's IPod to sing Otga's favorite praise song, Yes Lord! Cissie said, "Otga was so precious to watch as he was on fire for the Lord when he went home after his surgery."

If this sparks interest for a family to become involved with the Children's Heart Project, what is the best way for them to get plugged in?
The goal of CHP is to bring more and more children over each year, but we need more hospitals, doctors, churches and families to get involved. If we are not currently working in a city near you, there are many expenses to get children here to the US, so donations are always greatly accepted. However,we especially need a lot of prayer in for the selection process,the children that are chosen, our staff, doctors, and everyone involved. We couldn't do any of this if it were not those who faithfully pray for CHP.

Thank you for sharing your heart and about this project, Cissie! RWAVers, don't forget to check here for Children's Heart listings and showtimes in your area.

God bless you and happy Friday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thrifty Thursday ~ The Library

There's nothing more thrifty than FREE and your local library is exactly that! Here are a few ways to take advantage of this amazing resource:
  • Call to see about the FREE events for Kids & Families. My library has story times for all ages, book fairs, puppetry, interactive shows, craft times, etc. We go at least once a week.
  • Join the Summer Vacation Reading Program. Pick up the reading record and keep track of the minutes you read or were read to. Once you've complete the record you turn it in for great prizes. I put my 4 and 2 year old boys at the kitchen table (so they can't move around) and set a timer for 10 minutes (for a clear goal). I start by reading one book and then I leave the table while they have quiet time and "read" books. I end the short session by reading another book. We do this in the morning and afternoon. Then, we read to each boy individually for 10 minutes before bed.
  • Check out books! The annotated list of books from Honey For a Child's Heart is a wonderful starting point. Sometimes I focus on a topic in which my boys are interested (trains, birds) or something I'm trying to teach (manners, letters, holidays). My favorite tool is using the library's online service to reserve books so they are ready to pick up when I arrive. Instead of searching for books while we're there I can focus on teaching my boys the rules of the library, doing computer time, and snuggling up to read a book.
  • Bring the fun home! I try to make books come alive by adding activities to them. First, we read the book at the table to introduce the concept and avoid distraction. Then, we go to the supplies (which I've set up ahead of time) and I read the book again as we do the activity. One fun example is Warthogs Paint: A Messy Color Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards. This book teaches about primary colors and how mixing them will create new colors. We had a blast painting and I enjoyed watching his eyes light up as he mixed red and yellow to make orange! We've also used Grandpa Takes Me to The Moon by Timothy R. Gaffney. This is about space exploration and we used our toy spaceship to reenact the trip to the moon. The opportunities are endless!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday In The Word: CONFIDENCE

Facebook has become an everyday way of communication for the world. It is the fence that people talk over or the roof from which so many now speak. Many teenagers won't know life without it and it has become as important as cell phones. There are so many options to choose when you go to your home Facebook page that it can boggle this mind.

The other day Facebook caused me to have a huge revelation. I was listening to two teenagers talk about an application on Facebook that tests how well you know someone. After you take the test, you receive a score rating your knowledge of that person. What amazed me was how important the score was to one of the teenagers. A score of 70 was horrifying to her. She took it so personally that I finally had to remind her that her grade was not going to be posted like at school and that this game was for fuuuun after all! What struck me was that we are living in such a world of achievement that we often just can not have fun.

The question is: Is our confidence wrapped up in what we achieve or who we are?

This scripture freed me from the first day I read it:

"Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God." 2 Corinthians 2:5

When I look at this verse I see that my confidence does not come from myself but from God because of what His Son Jesus Christ did for me on the cross.

From the rooftop:

As a believer in Jesus we do NOT need to achieve anything to be confident.

Knowing Jesus instills a confidence in us that we can never get any where
else .

The gifts and talents that God has given you are unique to you.

Confidence grows when you use those gifts and talents.

The confidence that comes from being a child of God is deeper and more stable than confidence you try to achieve by any other measure.

The message of this scripture to all of us is that the baseline of our life is confidence because of what God has already done. That baseline is before we try to achieve anything or build confidence by any other measure. It is so easy to try to look to everyone and everything for personal affirmation because we lack confidence. The good news is that, as a believer, we can start everyday with confidence and build on it throughout the day. The Almighty God is looking upon YOU because YOU ARE HIS and He loves YOU all by yourself and He knows every gift you have. He is just waiting for all of us to ask Him to open doors so that we can use what He has given us from the very beginning.

I am praying that we will all sieze the confidence we have because of who we are in Christ! God alone has made us adequate. So if you woke up this morning or are reading this in the middle of the night and are just not feeling adequate to accomplish any thing...Be encouraged! You are adequate. Seize the confidence that is already there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Not just another reality show...

Children's Heart is a new reality show produced by Samaritan's Purse and will be premiering over the next two weeks on network television. Visit here to check showtimes in your area. You can also spread the word to your friends on Facebook by clicking here.

Also, stay tuned for an exclusive RWAV interview with one of the Children's Heart stars, Cissie Lynch!

Training Up Tuesday: Get Your Children to Eat Veggies!

My children are very picky eaters--my 4 year old daughter, especially. It takes a lot of coaxing and bribes to even get her to take one "no thank you bite" as we call them at our house. My 19 month old is a little less picky, but it can still be a challenge to get anything green into his belly! Last year I was really getting tired of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and heating up Tyson chicken nuggets each day, so I bought the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious , on Amazon and I became a puree-ing maniac!

This book was written by Jerry Seinfeld's wife, Jessica, and it gives great recipes that kids will eat...and they're all made with fresh vegetables and healthy ingredients! The trick is to puree your favorite veggies and fruits and add them to whatever you're cooking. I saw her on The View last year when the book first came out and she made everything look so good and easy, so I thought I'd give it a try. For my first experiment, I tried the chicken nuggets with a broccoli puree and I have to say they are scrumptious! They were so easy to make and the best part is that my daughter LOVED them. She had no idea she was eating fresh broccoli! These can be made it large batches and then placed in the freezer, too.

My husband is a very picky eater, as well--our children get it honestly. There are only a few vegetables he will allow onto his palate, so I have used our dinners, as well, to sneak some veggies in that I know he would NEVER eat. I will admit that he has been able to tell a few of the items that I snuck in. One of his veggie enemies is spinach and once in a while I will add 1/2 cup of pureed spinach into spaghetti sauce. He figured out my trick early on, and now when he calls to ask what's for dinner and I reply "Spaghetti," he'll quickly ask me not to add the spinach. :) But, I did add a butternut squash puree into a mac and cheese recipe in the cookbook, and I smiled with pride as he ate it with NO clue! Mission accomplished.

Now, some people may look at this cookbook and think "I will never have time to do this. It's too much work and it makes me tired just thinking about it". Not true. I put aside a few hours once in a while when my children are napping and use this as my pureeing time. Now that it's summer time, all the produce stands have their fresh fruits and veggies displayed. Pick some that you like and some that you normally don't buy. Wash them, peel them if necessary and them steam them until soft. Place them in your blender with a little bit of water and puree until they reach a nice liquid form. I store mine in 1/2 cup increments in a ziploc bag and then label with a black sharpie. When you're ready to use them, you can thaw the bag and place in your recipes. Get creative! You'd be surprised what vegetables you can sneak into certain recipes. Some other favorite recipes of ours from the book are the mac and cheese, the salsa (my husband even likes it!), the quesadillas and the blueberry/spinach oatmeal me, they are DELICIOUS!

This process is also a great way to make fresh baby food. When I started this process, my son was about 4 months old. Once he started baby food, I fed him from my Deceptively Delicious stash and he loved it! It was so neat to watch him devour things like cauliflower and spinach and I felt great knowing what was going into his body. Again, you'd be surprised what vegetables you can get your children to eat!

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Kiss!

This weekend, I witnessed something absolutely spectacular.

My family drove from Atlanta to Rockford, Illinois to see my sweet cousin Bridget get married. The week leading up to the wedding was a whirlwind. Parties, rehearsals, eating, laughing, decorating, cutting up fruit, putting together flower bouquets, you name it. My little boy, Wesley, was one of the ring bearers. He and my nephew walked down the aisle ringing actual bells! Being so busy, I didn't prepare myself for what I was about to see...

Once Wesley and Evan made it down the aisle without any major catastrophes, I had them sit down next to me, and I took a deep breath, for the first time in days. And, then, I watched. I watched as my sweet little cousin walked down the aisle. She was radiant. Her eyes were fixed on Jeremy. I became completely wrapped up in the moment. Everything else around me just faded into the background as I listened to them read each other their vows. Then, the part everyone always looks forward to...the KISS! Well...

Bridget and her fiance, Jeremy, had saved their first kiss for their WEDDING DAY! I mean, this is unheard of! Knowing this, I sat on the edge of my seat, waiting for those words..."You may now kiss the bride!" I even felt myself taking a deep breath for her. It was as if, for just a moment, all of time stood still. I took this picture by the way...the lighting behind them makes them look like they have angel wings.

I'm so proud of this couple. Their first priority was to honor God with their relationship. They are an incredible example. I couldn't help but think, it's only going to get more and more difficult for our children to value purity.

1 Timothy 4:12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity.

I love that this verse uses the word purity and not virginity. Virginity is a given here. But to be pure, to be able to stand before your family and God and present yourself PURE to your partner in speech, love, and faithfulness...what a treasure.
Way to go Bridge and Jeremy! I'm so proud of you both. And, Jeremy, thanks for giving me hope that my boys can do the same thing some day!!!

Just for kicks...this is my little Wesley. Before walking down the aisle:and after:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In Laws or Outlaws?

Something strange happens when the "I dos" are said and the words "I now pronounce you man and wife" are announced. The two, who are said to become one flesh, immediately get behind there guns and become territorial over family lines. The war begins over whose family they will spend holidays with, how many family get togethers they will attend, who will buy the mothers day gifts, and then there are the grand kids! The list goes on and I am sure you have your own points of conflict you have struggled with in your own marriage.

The question I found was didn't I love this man to the point I could not live without him? Now, I just wish he would go away so I could have it all my way again and not have to participate in this other family that I wasn't born to and did not make any sense to me! Why Lord did you stick me in this marriage that was not meeting my expectations?

The answer has come slowly because God has been patient with this stubborn and willful woman. I think this topic could easily be several chapters in a best selling book so I will give you a some scripture to explore on your own and a question to ponder for the days ahead.

If we look at ourselves honestly we will see that the core of our being apart from God is rotting away.

Romans 7:21-25 When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! context

What are you doing that you don't want to do? Jesus came to save us from the prison sin can be in our lives. Ask God to open your eyes and change your heart as only He can do. After some time of reflection, talk to your husband and ask him to forgive whatever ways you have been at war with him in your heart.

Marriages are crumbling because spouses are not communicating honestly and providing forgiveness to one another. Create a cycle in your own home of love and forgiveness!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Does it feel like the piles of clutter are taking over your house and you don't know where to start? Start small. Pick one area of your house. Set a timer and declutter that area for 15 minutes.

When you have another chunk of time, do the same thing. When you are done with that area, move to the next area. If you look at the clutter in 15 minute increments rather than the whole pile, you are more likely to show it who's boss and not be so overwhelmed!

Savory Smackerel
Here is a classic recipe that you can make in the oven or crockpot. It is delish and perfect for a nice Sunday lunch! Pair it w/ a salad and some roasted potatoes (and maybe some rolls to sop up the yummy sauce) and you've got one well rounded meal.

8 ounces of Catalina Dressing (regular or low fat)
1 package of onion soup mix (you can use a little less if you want to be extra sure it isn't salty.)
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce (16 ounces)
4 boned or boneless chicken breasts

Crockpot: Cook on low for 8 hours or until done.
Oven: Mix together the dressing, onion soup mix and cranberry sauce. Place the chicken and the sauce in a greased baking dish and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour (until your chicken is done).

Freezer Directions:
Mix together the dressing, onion soup mix and cranberry sauce. Place the chicken and mixer together in a freezer bag. When ready to prepare thaw overnight in the fridge and follow instructions above.

Happy Saturday! God bless you today.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Free-for-all Friday: Garage Sale Shopping

I've mentioned before that I love to shop and God has given me a "talent" to find great bargains:) This is the time of the year that you can find a garage sale in just about any part of town that you are.

Recently, I got all of this for $5.50 and had a wonderful Saturday morning shopping with my son and one of my girlfriends...priceless!
Here are some good tips to make sure you, too, can turn one person's trash to your treasure.

1. Look for neighborhoods that have sales at multiple houses. This will cut down on your gas and cost of driving around. Also, if you have children, you can park and pull out the stroller to make a morning of it.

2. Set a budget. Never bring more cash than you can afford to spend. This money can come from so many places in your budget....extra money you did not spend at the grocery store, "fun" money, or even your gift budget. Always bring small bills and pull out only what you are willing to pay.

3. Think outside of the box. Do not ever go with a list, you will be discouraged and miss out on good finds because you will be so focused on looking for things that are not there.

4. Talk to your friends about the sales in their neighborhoods or ones at churches so you can go to the good ones and also spend time with your friends and family. It is a great time to catch up, have a great time shopping, and even stop for coffee before or after.

5. If you have children, it is always good to give them their own money to spend. Even if it is $1 or .50. My two year old found 2 cars that he had been wanting for .25 each. This was definitely his treasure for the morning.

6. Always ask yourself twice, "Do I need this?" Also, make a commitment that anything you buy for yourself, you will use in your home that day. If you think that something may look good in a certain room and it never makes it there, then this is a loss.

Psalm 138:8 " not abandon the works of your hands."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thrifty Thursday ~ Bread Tip

Shoppers take note! Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:

Monday - Blue
Tuesday - Green
Thursday - Red
Friday - White
Saturday - Yellow

The colors go alphabetically by color (Blue - Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday thru Saturday). Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the one with the plastic clips have different colors. You could also just look at the expiration date :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday In the Word: Overwhelmed

"I am overwhelmed!"

If you asked anyone in my family, they would tell you that they hear these words often...

...from me.

That is right, I am frequently overwhelmed by the daily pressures of life. If I have too many things going on at one time, which is every minute of every day, I have a distinct overwhelming feeling. I know as young moms, you often do as well, because I talk to many of you all the time.

Recently I came across this scripture, 2 Corinthians 2:3b
"I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles."
New Message

Wow! What can Paul be talking about? Being overwhelmed with joy! That is definitely a new thought. First of all, in context, he is talking about the extreme difficulty the Corinthian church is having because of conflicts within their own body of believers and also the persecution that many believers are experiencing. Titus came to visit them and it encouraged all of them greatly.
In studying this passage you see that the extreme difficulty the church was having actually was producing many positive results. The believers were stronger, more focused and responsible.

Has difficulty ever caused you to be overwhelmed with JOY! If not, maybe next time it will. This passage definitely gives us fresh perspective.

From the Rooftop:


Being OVERWHELMED can produce JOY instead of frustration.

Let us take our overwhelming feelings and ask God to make them produce effectiveness in our life .

Be an overwhelmed person that encourages another overwhelmed person to be overwhelmed with joy instead of fear or frustration.

The Bible says, "all things work together for good to those that believe." It is revolutionary that even being overwhelmed can work together for good but it can. Remember a few weeks ago when we talked about joy being calm delight? So, being overwhelmed with joy just means instead of fear or panic, you can experience the calm delight. God has something great He wants to put into your life the next time you are overwhelmed.

I am praying for you that you will be OVERWHELMED WITH JOY!

I love you.

P.S. This weekend, I had the privilege of being with a faithful group of believers that are working tirelessly to prepare for ROCK THE RIVER, a festival that will be held over the summer up and down the Mississippi River by Franklin Graham. We are praying that many young people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as they hear the message of Christ in song and message.

The events will be day long rock concerts with periodic messages by Franklin and times to make commitments to Christ. The four locations are Baton Rouge, Saint Louis, Quad Cities and Minneapolis. Please pray for these events, the people working to prepare for them, that God would break down barriers and many people would come to faith. If you live in one of these cities be sure you come, bring your families and your non believing friends. Rock On!! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Training up Tuesday: Autism, ADHD and Your Child's Diet

It is summertime!!!! School has almost ended for the year. It is time for family time, fun in the sun, and summer time treats. With that in mind, I wanted to remind you how important it is to make sure our children are not filling up on food that can actually be harmful to them. I love ice cream…don’t get me wrong! What I do not care for are the flavors that are infused with color and artificial flavors. The reason I am so careful these days is because I have seen how removing these “additives” has helped my children. They are more focused, less irritable, and not as hyperactive.

Eliminating foods with these additives has played a role in the recovery of my son with autism. We have gone to a greater extent and have removed all casein (found in dairy foods), gluten, and soy from his diet. Watching Charley regain a vocabulary and cease his hour-long tantrums made me realize what we put into our kids’ mouths is vitally important. Not only that, his stemming and autistic behaviors decreased dramatically.

Why did doing this help, you may ask? Well, according to Dr. Jerry Kartinel, one of the top autism doctors in the nation, the goal behind changing diets is to remove chemicals, toxins, and potential neurotransmitters, which are liberated when foods are broken down (in the process of digestion). These substances could be toxic for the brain and cause behavioral trouble in kids who are sensitive to them. Whether kids test as allergic or not, often they are causing a negative effect on the child and they must be removed. Nitrites and nitrates (preservatives found in bacon, hot dogs, and lunch meats), sorbic acid (found in cheese, frosting, and dried fruits), dyes (especially yellow dye #5), MSG (found most commonly in some Chinese restaurant food, chicken broth, and bouillon), and aspartame can exacerbate symptoms for some children with ADHD and autism. A 2007 Lancet study found that artificial colors and preservatives increase hyperactivity in young children. Listen to this…food dyes are derived from petroleum and coal tar. You don’t want that stuff in your child’s body!

Also, try to go organic. Limit a child’s toxic load – which is especially important for kids, such as those ADHD, who have decreased ability to handle toxins-by choosing foods free of pesticides and other chemical residue.

Another example is with my daughter, Georgia. We noticed a rash on my daughter her face along with extreme constipation. We figured she wasn’t getting the fiber intake needed. After some research, we decided we would try taking her off of gluten and casein as well. After about a week of elimating these foods, she began having regular bowel movements. Her face rash began to slowly go away. It flares up if even a trace is ingested.

Some of the best advice I received as a parent with a child on the spectrum. Bowel movements must be daily and complete. Many children need daily help (not just “once in awhile”) Consistency is the name of the game if you’re looking for improvements in language, behavior and ability to connect socially. Trust me~ I could write a whole blog post on our kid’s poop. :)

Here is a great analogy that I read in Jenny McCarthy’s latest book, “If you get behind a car and it is choking out blackish blue, foul-smelling smoke, you do not have to be a mechanic to figure out that there is something wrong with that internal combustion engine. It’s not doing its job properly. The stool is what comes out of the child’s exhaust pipe and can be very revealing!”

I could go on and on…I have learned so much this past year and would love to be able to share what I know with other moms who are going through any of these issues. God uses us in so many ways and I really feel He wants me to reach out to those Moms who feel they are at a standstill with their child suffering from ADHD, autism, language delays, etc. Please feel free to contact me!
Here is a picture of Charley enjoying a yummy homemade chocolate cake that is free of gluten, casein and all additives! AND…it tastes GREAT!