Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Need Perspective? A Glimpse at Third World Living

I know how to live on almost nothing 
or with everything. I have learned the 
secret of living in every situation, 
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
Philippians 4:12

Last week we had dinner with our friend, Kokeh Kotee, from Liberia.  
He came in town to continue to build his ministry~ Lead Liberia.
He trains local pastors in Liberia and hopes to create a seed project that would allow the pastors to learn to farm so they can feed their families and congregations.

I captured a bit of our conversation at dinner. 
{I turned the camera on and let it roll; it was a bit sneaky}
I love that you can get a glimpse of this sweet man's heart for God 
and his amazing attitude.    
Liberia was destroyed in a year civil war that lasted from 1989-2003.  A peace agreement was signed 8 years ago, and they have been trying to rebuild their infrastructure; it has been a very slow process.  85% of the country is unemployed.
Kokeh is fighting for the hearts of the people there and loving them in Jesus name. 
On this memorial Day, I find myself grateful for the freedoms we have in our country and the men and women who lost their lives protecting it.  
Enjoy the clean water, electricity and abundance which is yours this Memorial Day and remember to say "thank you!" to those who fought to protect us!    

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Loving Your Man: Sweet Disciplines of Love

And over all these virtues, put on love, 
which binds them together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14
Our dear friend, Clayton, got married to the the girl of his dreams this weekend.  After their first kiss as husband and wife, Clayton scooped Whitney into his arms~ 
the congregation giggled and cheered and clapped...
Later, I spotted this sweet arrangement on a table at the reception highlighting a photo of their parents or grandparents...
After years of marriage, I wondered to myself if the man in the tuxedo staring back at me still swept his bride up into his arms.
Mr. Wonderful and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage in December.  During the hard times, when life is too busy to give one another attention, or we are too tired to communicate through the hard places, we climb into bed at night and I am inclined to turn my back to him.  That's when he whispers, "Hey there... I just want you to know that I will never settle for less than God's best for us."  And I roll over in response to his words, because we have committed to remind each other that we will never "settle." It is then that we begin the fight back to that place of laughter and fun and appreciation and intimacy. 
The place where Good + Hard = A RICH MARRIAGE

I've been following Ann Voskamp's blog since I began her book One Thousand Gifts.  Today she wrote about her sweet husband and a challenge for herself to love him well.  Her writing is vulnerable and real and practical.  She linked to another post about simple daily routines that have helped her stay connected to her man.  Her ideas are so. very. simple. 
I found myself challenged by them; I think you will too.
Find them here.  
Sometimes it's painful to ask the question...
"Am I settling in my marriage?" 
and sometimes the fight back to that sweet place is hard.
But when you get to that place where you get lost in each other's arms again, 
it is SO worth the work.
This weekend I think I'll pull out our wedding photos as a little reminder of that season of life when all was hope and love and anticipation of our sweet life together... 
And then I'll take Mr. Wonderful's face in my hands, look him in the eye and tell him that I would marry him all over again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Bucket List: Fun things to do with your kids

"...to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  
~John Lubbock

If you have children, it's the time of year when moms have conflicting emotions; 
You can't wait for your little ones to come home from school,
But you know those summer days can be long. 

I LOVE this blog post by The Creative Momma.  
She has created a great list of ideas for entertaining your kids.
This will help you start thinking of summer as an ADVENTURE!
A summer bucket list? Brilliant!  
Our family is gonna copy some of her ideas, but add a few of our own since my kids (21, 19 and 17) are basically grown up:
~Learn some songs we can sing as a family
{We're startimg with "Victory in Jesus," my great-grandmother's favorite hymn!}
~Memorize some verses together
{Like 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice Always!"} 
~Take ballroom dancing lessons
{Mr. Wonderful and I have been doing this, and we're gonna take the kids along this summmer!}
You MUST go read all the details of these great ideas HERE!
Her "bucket list" bulliten board:
Or this outdoor chalk board~ so fun!
Would love for you to comment and add your summer fun 
"to do" list with me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear 16 Year Old Me: Resist the Tanning Bed

If you love someone, send them this video.  
Trust me~ you don't want to go there.

As a cancer survivor, it is hard to watch anyone 
participate in activities that have been proven 
to cause cancer.  
If you've ever walked through treatment, 
seen someone lose their battle to cancer, 
gotten the phone call from someone you love and hear, 
"I've just been diagnosed with cancer," 
you NEVER want to experience it again.  
This video about melanoma is powerful and applies to all of us~ spread the word.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

For the Graduates: "Sweets and Treats" Party {Printables}

Several of my sweet high school friends are graduating this year.  
Last weekend, I had the privilege of taking pictures at a wonderful party for my friend, 
Molly Hohfeler.  She and her best friend Katherine had a party together.  
Their mother's gave it for them, and it was called 
"Sweets and Treats."  
I thought you would enjoy seeing the pictures from the party and their wonderful ideas on display.  Don't miss the additional links at the bottom of the post for more graduation party ideas!
Molly and Katherine with their sweet moms, Beth and Mary
These ladies made some of the treats, others came from a bakery in Dallas called Tart.  They make the most amazing little tarts, bundt cakes and cookies!  The girls got to make party favors at a candy bar, and I created a little photo booth for them to play around in with their friends.  
While the party was going on, a wonderful slideshow of the girls was rolling on the television.  
All of these beautiful touches happened against a wonderful
symphony of laughter, hugs and giggles!

The food was beautiful and Oh, so YUMMY!
For a keepsake, the invitation was framed and the girls wrote sweet sentiments and good wishes for the girls on the mat around the picture.

Perfect for the dorm!  
I put together a little "photo booth" so the girls could play and create some memories.  It was super simple to do: I simply bought a few one and two dollar frames from the thrift store and spray painted them.  Then I bought a pair of curtains (the pair was only $19.99!) 
from Ikea to hang behind the girls.  Aren't they ADORABLE?

What is your plan for the graduate in your life?  
Here are some wonderful links to more graduation ideas:
One Pretty Thing 
Living Locurto
The TomKat Studio
Frog Prince Paperie
and here

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Celebrations {Free Printables}

{This post is dedicated to my sweet mother, 
who made a beautiful career out of mothering~
 and for that, I will be forever grateful!}

"I can't think of another career more challenging and satisfying than to pour my energies into the daily task of making order out of chaos, music out of noise, communication out of babble, purposefulness out of purposelessness, pointing chubby little wayward feet gently toward the Path, lighting ignorance with knowledge and confusion with understanding."
~Elizabeth Elliott
There are some wonderful printables and ideas for blessing the mother you love~ You MUST click every link... the women who made them are so creative and thoughtful; I'm using some for a little lunch I'm having on Monday for some friends and their mothers: 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Loving Your REAL LIVE PRINCESS! {You're a princess, too!}

“To be simple means to be completely pure: 
to have royalty and greatness whilst being ordinary.” 
~Thought for Today-UK

Every Wednesday after school, I get to hang out with five precious high school girls.  
They're serious about growing in wisdom, and have given me and my friend, Suzanne, 
the privilege of teaching, probing, challenging and encouraging them with God's Word.  
Last week, we had a little reception in honor of William and Kate.  
And, yes, we love the glitz and glam of England's prestigious royal family, 
but the main purpose of the celebration was to remind them that they, too, are royalty!
Because they know the Prince of Peace, they are Princesses in God's Kingdom!  
Here are a couple of photos from our afternoon.
Complete with tiaras, crowns and roses...
 Party Favors
The engagement ring...
Table decorations, thanks to the free party printables at Design Editor!
We watched the royal engagrement interview and
Lifetime Movie about Will and Kate.
A fine looking group of "ordinary" princesses with royalty flowing through their veins~
heading for greatness!

  • What woman in your life needs to be reminded that she is truly LOVED by the King of Kings?
  • What teenager would make different decisions if she knew her TRUE VALUE as a princess?
  • What little girl idolizes Cinderella, never realizing she is ROYALTY, too?
Here are some great tools to redefine yourself as a princess or 
educate the little princess in your life:

A wonderful place to learn about regal living here. 
A good book for preteens here.
An excellent website, book and blog for teen princesses here.
A good book for grown-up princesses here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lovin' Your Teachers: Simple Ways to say "thank you!"

A good teacher is like a candle~ 
it consumes itself to light the way for others.  
~Author Unknown

Everything you need for 
loving your teachers!
Thanks a Latte from 24/7 Moms
Pill Dispenser from Skip to My Lou
Note Cards from TomKat Studio
Gum Ball Jar from It's All Small Stuff
Water Bottle Wrappers from Domesticated Lady
And Finally, from The Tip Junkie...30 Homemade Gift Ideas!