Wednesday, April 16, 2014

35 weeks...and counting.

and believe me, i do mean counting.  the last month of pregnancy always makes me so excited to give birth.  not just because of the amazing miracle of life but to un-pregnant, you know?  to be able to wear clothes without panels and have people look at me in the eyes again instead of the belly.  strangers shake their head with sympathy and a smile as i waddle down the aisle.  it looks like i'm smuggling a watermelon out of the farmer's market.

i've had people in a friendly argument over the sex of the baby...not everyone is convinced it's a girl.  and don't get me started on "placenta brain" as someone at the midwife's office calls it!  even the kids have said, "well, don't give that to mama...she won't remember where she put it!"  we even got a check mailed back to us with a little note that said, "please sign and return"...oops!  

putting my uncomfortableness and pregnancy memory aside, we are so very excited!  this baby is blessed before it's even born.  we were honored with one shower and two more to come.  the Lord has surely placed great people in our lives!   friends and neighbors have dropped off diapers and beautiful handmade-with-lots of-love booties. 

putting the material blessings aside, we've been blessed with many people praying for us and the baby, cooking for us and just genuinely caring.  i had a grandfatherly type look at me while i was working at church and pretty much ordered me to sit down and rest.  he said it with love and concern and he was totally right...resting this go round is a must! 

so...we need to order the birth kit the midwife needs, air up the birthing ball, continue to purge and organize the house and wrap up school as we anticipate the arrival of our sweet bundle.  i usually go one week "late" but it's never too early to be ready!

one of my favorite parts of this pregnancy has been seeing how the kids react.  i daresay the belly may get more kisses than i do these days!  and trooper lovingly calls me "prego." 

this baby will no doubt shake up our world, if not the world itself!

Monday, April 14, 2014

giveaway & review: alone yet not alone

Tracy Leininger Craven tells a great story...but it's not just a story.  it's a part of her family's legacy.  'Alone yet Not Alone' is a historical true account which is an amazing testimony of God's protection and goodness.  and it's coming to theaters june 13, 2014!

the book we read is the special movie edition complete with pictures.  it is recommended for ages 8 and up but because reading out loud together is one of our favorite things to do and i'm not sure how i could manage reading to only two kids, i went ahead and read it to all of our kiddos ages 6-11.  {i did skip reading a part where someone is burned alive at the stake while two young captives are forced to watch.}

to say the kids loved this book would be a complete understatement.  they would have sat and listened to the entire book in one sitting but mama's prego lungs needed some breaks =).

this is a story of a faith filled family who settled in the blue mountains from Germany.  they work, eat, worship and fellowship together leading a hard yet satisfying life. however, they soon find themselves in the middle of the Penn's Creek Massacre during the French and Indian war.  with two of the family members killed in an Indian raid and two more kidnapped all hope seems lost.   

sisters Barbara and Regina grow up during their pre-teen and teen years living as Indians held captive against their will.  will their faith in God keep them alive and protected?  will they ever see the rest of their dear family again? will they become bitter?  will they even want to return back to their previous life?

this is a wonderful engaging story to read as a family.  i would caution the parents who have sensitive children to use their best judgement.  it's my own personal opinion that it's not necessary to stay away from the book, only edit out what you see fit.  there are many good life lessons and the author is constantly pointing to the Lord and His provision.  As for seeing the movie {we haven't been to a theater in months!}, i think our oldest would be able to handle it but not our younger two. the indians look a bit intimidating in the trailer.

here is the movie's website: alone yet not alone

if you'd like to win your own copy of 'alone yet not alone' just follow the rafflecopter's directions.  thank you!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

need some faith? part 2

                                                              {photo credit}

if you read my previous post about the boy {now a man} from Nigeria who miraculously made it to America and then was awarded a full scholarship to ORU in Tulsa then you know that he had great faith.

but he is not the only one in the story with faith.

how about the couple who took him home?  

the people who became his family.  you should have seen how happy he was to introduce his family, including a grandma...all white, all full of love and so, so proud of this courageous man!

it melted my heart.  

do you obey quickly when the Lord leads you to do something or do you analyze and try to figure out exactly how you could accomplish what He is asking you to do?  because let's face it, He asks us to do things we usually can't do without Him! 

i think it's our nature to try to figure everything out...but that is not faith.  faith is obeying with no strings attached. faith is taking the step.  faith is listening and doing what you hear.  faith is acting when it doesn't make sense.  

we can not figure everything out about Him, so let's quit trying!

his dad, the only dad he has ever known got up to speak after the young man with a contagious smile was done.

he said something like, "we didn't try to figure out how it would all work out, because there was NO way WE could pay for his tuition.  but, we took one small step of faith.  do not look at the entire picture.  just take the step He's leading you to take.  we were more blessed in return than we were a blessing!"

that is amazing advice.  and it's true.

humans try to make a list, organize, check the budget, rationalize and explain.  but guess what?  that is not faith.  and how do i know?  because i used to be an expert at it!

faith is taking the step, trusting that He knows best and resting in that.  one day, i can't wait to tell you all He has asked us to do lately.  things that plainly do not make sense in the natural.  but, do we want to be grounded in this world...or in His world? 

when you step out in faith, your faith grows and you're blessed in return.  but remember, He knows our motives!  we should obey simply to be a blessing or for whatever reason He may ask us to do something, not for what we may get in return.  obeying what He says to do shows Him honor.

what is He asking you to do?  

just do it!  don't think about it.  

make the call.  write the check.  pray the prayer.  send the money.  cook the meal.  give food.  give of yourself.  

quit living in fear.  quit trying to control everything...He is capable of doing that for you! 

what would happen if every believer did what He told them to do?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

need some faith?

                                           {photo credit}

he was abandoned at two days old.  just left there.  he had no choice but to become a servant of the family he lived with in exchange for food and shelter.

as an older child he gave his life to the Lord only to be beaten for his faith.

after running away he found a church and a job, living on the construction site where he worked. with borrowed books, he taught himself to read and write.  he started saving his very hard earned money with a desire to go to college.

he passed africa's version of america's GED with a 6th grade education...with not nearly enough money for college.

this young man continued to pray, stand on scripture and have faith.  saving every penny he can only equaled $70 after two years. 

well known preachers went to nigeria and shared their faith and testimonies..."if God can do it for them...He can do it for me," he thought! he wanted nothing more than to attend ORU in tulsa, oklahoma.

after ten years of standing on faith and working very hard he miraculously got a visa and a plane ticket and lands in tulsa.  

he didn't know one person.  he had no money.  but, he had a lot of faith. 

someone offered him a ride and drove him straight to ORU.  ORU wanted to fly him right back "home."  with nothing to return to he wanted to stay.

somehow, a couple, a white couple, heard about this young man and his story and took him home.  after the weekend they took him to ORU and said, "he is not going back to africa."

he filled out the appropriate paper work and waited...with faith.  one day, he received a phone call from ORU...he was awarded a FULL scholarship to ORU!   ten minutes later he woke up after passing out full of excitement over God's provision!

he graduates in six weeks and will then go to medical school.  he has a story to tell and he tells it well.  his love and honor for the Lord is evident on his face and in his words. his broad smile and laugh are contagious.

we were privileged to hear his testimony last night...and his story is far from over!  along with his story and faith he brought along some students from africa who did the praise and!  almost impossible to keep your feet still during that {and we didn't want to}!

have you been believing for something?  do you have faith?  or are you full of self pity, doubt and whining?  have you been standing on God's word? are the words coming out of your mouth negative?

last night's message was plain: God is no respecter of persons.  he can and will do miracles. stand on the word.  confess it.  do your part so the Lord can do His!!

 {i did my best in remembering the details and hope i did the story justice.}

Saturday, March 15, 2014

fun & frugal spring wreath.

i remember creating wreaths as a girl with one of my aunts.  we had so much fun and i was surprised by how easy they are to make.  a naked door just looks well, naked. wreaths are such an easy way to dress up your home inside or out but they can be very pricey. 

i also remember before the kiddos came along making wreaths for a floral was the best feeling when someone purchased one of my creations!  and it was amazing just how much they sold for!

this spring i wanted something easy and frugal and did a quick online search which resulted in a few good ideas.

the above wreath ended up costing us $2 plus tax...awesome!

*2 packages of cupcake liners - purchased at michael's for 50% off. 
total: $1
*straight pins borrowed from scout's sewing basket - free.
*a styrofoam wreath form raided from my MIL's basement - free.
*ribbon found in the clearance bin at michael's - $1
*a fun and frugal wreath made with the help of little hands - priceless!

this wreath is easy peasy...just turn the liners inside out and wrinkle them a bit to make a flower petal effect.  use a straight pin to secure the liner in the middle.  use a simple bow, or not and you're ready to go!! 

{i would have preferred the bow not be where it is but because a glass door closes over our front door i have to make sure the wreath was somewhat flat. also note this wreath is not weather proof :}

so there you go...happy {almost} spring!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

hang. in. there.

                              jonathan blair, national geographic

two frogs fell into a can of cream,
or so it has been told.
the sides of the can were shiny and steep,
the cream was deep and cold.
"oh, what's the use," said number one,
it's plain no help's around.
"goodbye, my friend, goodbye, sad world"
and weeping still he drowned.

but number two, of sterner stuff,
dog paddled in surprise.
the while he licked his creamy lips
and blinked his creamy eyes. 
"i'll swim at least a while," he thought, 
or so it has been said.
it really wouldn't help the world
if one more frog were dead.

an hour or more he kicked and swam,
not once he stopped to mutter.
then hopped out from the island he had
made of fresh churned butter.

{author unknown} 

Friday, February 28, 2014

my how time changes things...

                                        {mama roo swing}

i used to think that i love change.  change is good...right?  who wants their furniture in their same spot for years, to drive the same path everyday or to sit in the exact same spot at church?  we love to mix it up a little.  or so i thought.

           {prince lionheart wipe warmer, goodbye plain 'ol white ones!}           

now,'s been six years {which my body says is along time but in reality isn't really that long} since we've had a baby around the house. after birthing and raising three kiddos i've realized that i tend to do things the same way, there is a "method to my madness" and yes, i'd love the same products i had with my older kids.  they worked, i was comfortable with them and why change something that is good?  {my, i'm starting to sound like my grandma and her avon clients when a product they loved was discontinued}!

                                     {boon clutch dish washing basket}

we are getting into baby mode around here...thinking about the things we need {we also learned it's not necessary to go all out for a baby...they need diapers and a mama to nurse them...not all the gadgets!}  but, we do need a few things so the kids and i went to a new store in town {since six years ago} to browse around and boy, was i ever shocked!

                              {boon lawn drying rack...pretty cool!}

several times the kids asked what something was and i had no idea. that's not quite true, i had a good idea but i was in the denial mode - surely products haven't changed THAT much? there are sleek designs, modern prints and things that look a bit like robots.  we saw strollers for well over $1,000 {are you KIDDING me?} and the same products have doubled or almost in price like my ever favorite boppy pillow.

         {and the mustachifier...thank you...billy bob teeth were getting old!}

now don't get me wrong, i'm not apposed to these new products.  i'm just pointing out the changes from just a few years ago. and, the fact that i may be a little old fashioned. i was thrilled to spot "our" model of stroller yesterday {with a modernized print} so we snagged it before it changes too, it was on clearance so it doesn't look promising for old faithful. smile.

we're getting ready for baby showers, moving things around the house and de-cluterring...again.  where in the world does all this stuff come from anyway?  i'm also working on adjusting to being a mountain mama living in a modern world...kind of like watching some grandparents should be pretty entertaining! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

speak life.

in high school i had a big box full of snippets of paper that had all kinds of quotes scribbled on them...i've always loved a good quote.  and now with the internet and pinterest it's even more fun to collect them!  

a few simple words can soften a heart, inspire and stop you in your tracks.  or they can tear and break down.

the old adage "stick and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" is simply not true.  but, i love the one that says, "if you don't have anything nice to say..." 

words are powerful.  so very powerful.  the bible says that we can speak life or death.  we can bless others or tear them down.  we can speak life into our bodies and situations or death.  words are so powerful that the Creator created simply by speaking. 

are you going to speak life?  encourage?  keep your mouth shut when you really want to say something you shouldn't?  sometimes opinions don't need to be shared because they are just opinion. {and yes, i just shared mine :}

"the tongue can bring death or life, those who love to talk will reap the consequences."  Proverbs 18:21 NIV


Thursday, February 20, 2014

berenstain bears keeping the faith: book review

"now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

trooper is a BIG fan of berenstain bear books so i knew my bears, i mean, kids were the right ones to review this story!  the berenstain bears series  are written for kids ages 4-8.

brother and sister bear have a conversation with a friend who believes in science rather than God...this really gets them thinking about their personal faith...and exactly what faith is.

this is a hard question for any parent to answer so i was interested to see how the the author, Mike Berenstain handled it.

i was pleased with mama bear's answer that pointed the cubs to the bible, knowing God in their hearts, feeling His love and His love helping us love others.  

there could have been countless other "religious" answers but this pointed to a personal relationship in terms a child can understand, in my opinion. the family then ventures to ask pastor brown about what faith is.  he directs them to daniel in the bible who had faith the Lord would protect him from the lions in the den.  

there was only one negative comment from trooper {age 6}.  he noticed in the book how the king looks angry as daniel is thrown into the den.  trooper pointed out that in the bible it says the king was "greatly distressed and was determined to rescue daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him." {Daniel 6:14}  the king could not eat or sleep that night he was so concerned.  upon finding out the indeed the Lord spared daniel, the men who falsely accused him and their families were fed to the lions and the king decreed, "...He is the living God and He endures forever..." {daniel 6:26}

it's amazing to me that trooper picked up on that and was very adamant that it was not how the story goes. 

overall, the book was good and to the point.  each of our three kiddos 6-11 enjoyed the book as well as the "living lights" series.

thank you booksneeze for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest opinion!!