Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Movie Night

Family Movie Night is back! This Friday, December 3rd on NBC, A Walk in My Shoes will be airing. Check your local listing for show times. It is a movie that shares a great family message about two families whose lives collide, creating an opportunity to see things from a whole new perspective.

A Walk In My Shoes - 2:33 TRLR from Moms4FamilyTV.com on Vimeo.

You can find out more information and ways to spread the word about this movie that we actually want to see with our kids and not have to worry about the content at Moms 4 Family TV. Get your popcorn!

Moms 4 Family TV is also having an essay contest. There are three catagories: 8th graders, 9th graders, and moms! You might not have child that age, but do you know a mom who writes? I thought so! The winner receives $500! The application also asks for the organization who referred you to the contest. If you win, and you put us down as the sponsoring organization, we can win a cash prize too! You can find more information about the contest here. Go for it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun Monday

Sigh...if your Monday after Thanksgiving has gone like mine, you're just now sitting down too! I thought you would enjoy a short funny story. Some of you may have gone camping or some of your family might have gone fishing over the holiday, so here's a fishing story for you from Shelly in Texas.

My 2 year old (aka Little B) went fishing with his Daddy one day. Daddy would cast out the line, and Little B would reel it in as fast as he could. Cast and reel. Cast and reel. After a while, they had not had any bites, so Daddy cast it out and said, “This is the last time before we go home.” He handed the rod to Little B who just held it. Puzzled, Daddy looked at him. Little B looked up and replied, “My fish coming soon!”

We hope you had a fun time with family and friends over Thanksgiving. If you have a funny story you would like to share with us, you can send it to Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to Him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights--
His love endures forever.
the sun to overn the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-9, 26

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Cobbler

I made this for a teacher appreciation lunch last week and they really enjoyed it, so I thought I would share it with you. It is easy and delicious! And it is great to take to a get together because you don't want too much of this temptation around! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cobbler

3 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend (I got this from Pampered Chef. If you have that spice, great. I just used a little more cinnamon.)
1 tsp. vanilla
18 ¼ oz. yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans

Stir the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Melt the margarine and drizzle over the top of the cake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Chop pecans. Sprinkle over top and bake 15 more minutes.

Do you have any family favorite recipes to share?

(If you are looking for some great recipes, Beth Moore asked her blog community for some good ones. You can check it out here.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

The holidays are upon us! We hope that you get the opportunity to have some special time celebrating with your family and friends this week. A few years ago, we were with a group who shared ideas of how they celebrated different holidays. Here are a few ideas about Thanksgiving:

* Construction paper leaves/tree on wall. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving write “I am thankful for…” on the leaves and put them on the tree. The leaves are read on Thanksgiving Day. (Sorry we are a little late on this one, but if you have a big group getting together, it still might could work!)

* Use a special tablecloth on this day and have everyone who sits at the meal with us sign and date the tablecloth with a permanent marker. It is fun to look at each year.

* Slips of paper in a pot stating what you’re thankful for

* William Bradford’s Thanksgiving account, The Plymouth Plantation (read this story).

* Adopt a family for Thanksgiving or invite an elderly person who doesn’t have family

* Send a Thanksgiving letter instead of Christmas letter

* A-Z Thanks

* When you walk in, you put a slip of paper in the “Thankful Jar” after writing something you are thankful for that year. Later we read them out loud and guess who wrote it.

* We play board games

* Cooking together

* Family Life Resources "Thanksgiving Box Devotional" – Do one devotional each night of the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Helps focus all of us on the significance of why we are celebrating and what we have to be thankful for.

* Listen to the Radio Theatre production of Squanto or read it.

What other ideas do you have to make this Thanksgiving special?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Loud Times with God

Early in my mothering career I shared a frustration with a friend who had older children. I was feeling defeated because I was having a hard time spending time with God. I was tired. I didn't know how I could wake up any earlier. When I did wake up early, it seemed like the baby could smell me and would wake up just minutes after my feet hit the floor. I felt sure that God was angry with me and ready to go look somewhere else for a faithful mom.

My friend told me, "Sharon, God knows your heart and He is very aware of the seasons of our lives. He isn't sitting up there shaking His finger at you. He's right beside you as you change diappers. When you're up in the night, so is He."

She went on to tell me that when her kids were small, she had felt the same way; she kept waiting for a "quiet time" to spend with God. One day the Lord revealed to her that she could spend time with Him even if it was a loud time. So with her son playing around her feet, she sat down and had a loud time with God.

God never said, "Spend quiet time with me every day in the morning, or else!" He encourages us to spend the time, to be still and know that He is God. He knows that hiding His Word in our hearts will carry us through everything we face. But at the same time, He isn't waiting to zap us because we didn't get up after a night of feedings, or just because we are exhausted from life. When you try to read at night and wake up with your face smushed into the pages, He understands.

If those times of the day aren't working for you, try having a "loud time" with God. Andrew Murray wrote, "It is when the soul is hushed in silent awe and worship...that the still small voice of the blessed Spirit will be heard." He didn't say that everything else has to be quiet in order for our soul to be hushed before Him.

Think about it: Don't we want our children to see us spending time with the God who gives us strength? If we always spend quiet time with Him before they are awake or after they are sleeping soundly, they could miss seeing firsthand that He is our lifeline.

God says, "Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me" (Isaiah 30:15 The Message). I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to sit down once my kids are awake. For some reason we moms feel like we have to be "up and at 'em."

True, there are things that we have to do, but taking a break, resting with the Lord, listening to Him even when it's loud around us--those are the things that will carry us through all the remaining tasks and decisions the day holds.

Father, what a relief it is to me to know that You know right where I am. I can quit trying to impress You by my efforts and just rest in You, even if the moments are loud. I pray You'll help me focus on You as I quiet my soul during the day. Help me remember that the day is not lost just because I didn't wake up and immediately spend time with You. Remind me to stop throughout my day. I feel the urge to be "doing" when my kids are awake. Slow me down. Draw me to You.

I pray that You will fill me with Your patience when my kids need me. If I have to get up and come back, You'll go with me and meet me again. If I have to get up and I can't come back, thank You for understanding. Feel free to speak to me through the day. I pray that You'll open my ears so that I can hear from you. Open my eyes so I can see what You want to show me. Loving You...I pray in Jesus' Name, amen.

What works for you? Share any tips to spending time with God that have helped you.

(from Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun Monday

Crislynn had to disect owl poop looking for bones of animals it had eaten. (Okay this isn't funny...this is disgusting!) Anyway, when she was explaining it to me, she stopped and grinned, "Ooh...I sound so scientific!" She was feeling smart. Love that!

Do you have a fun story to share this Monday?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday--Praise

One night before we had a speaking engagement, I had a lot on my mind. I was in no shape to speak to women about loving their families, because at the moment I didn't think too much of mine. Mostly my husband. I was so mad at him! I felt like we (the kids and I) were an afterthought in his life.

I was fuming as I left our bus and headed for the church. Suddenly I saw the sunset. It was beautiful. I had almost missed it in my fury. I started walking slower and thanked God for the sunset. Then I saw the flag flying outside the church, and I thanked God for our country and the freedom to worship as we want.

It bagan a waterfall of thanks in my heart. I thanked Him for my family--for my children who were so precious and my husband, who was just having a bad day. I thanked God for loving me, for having the ability to stop me in my pious condemnation and turn my eyes to Him.

By the time I made my way to the door of the church, I didn't want to go in because my time of praise to the Lord was so sweet. My heart, which had just moments earlier been so heavy, was now full of love, forgiveness, and gratefulness. I was amazed at the instant change that praising the Lord had made in my heart and attitude.

When we praise the Lord, it isn't just a way for us to worship Him, although that is very important. "Praise releases the power of God into our lives. Praise is a powerful tool that the Lord has put in our hands to turn the difficult situations of our lives around."1

I realized that praise doesn't necessarily chage our circumstances, but it can change our perspective and attitude about out situations. It gives hope for the challenging times. As days passed, I began acknowledging the amazing things about God as I prayed, instead of only making requests and asking forgiveness for things I had done wrong.

Praise doesn't come naturally for me. Before I ask anything from the Lord, I speak some words of praise to Him. It's not always easy, but practicing helps.

"Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, you've taught me the truth about life! Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well" (Psalm 119:171, 175 The Message).

Lord, I praise You for giving us the ability to praise You. You are the king of all the earth. Nothing is above You. You are the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Thank You for Your creation. The trees, mountains, flowers, rivers, and especially people are all amazing gifts from You. I pray that You will let praise cascade off my lips, specific praises every day, all the time.

I ask that You help me learn to see the good things about my family, the blessings rather than the burdens. Would You remind me to daily praise You for them? Thank You. On my own, change is hopeless, but with You my whole heart can be renewed. My attitude can change from sour to sweet. Thank You for loving me enough to die for me. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for enabling us to be thankful. Thank You that we aren't condemned to just be negative; there is hope for tomorrow. Let everything that is within me praise You, Lord, and through that praise fill me with Your strength and hope, letting that joy spill over into my family. I love You, Lord. I pray in Jesus' Name, amen.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

(From Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote of the day

Here is an interesting thought:

I am a mom even when I don’t want to be.
I can delegate other things, but I
can’t delegate my role as a mom.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fun Monday!

Need a smile this Monday morning? Here is a fun moment that Sharon shared last week...

Davis had a staring contest with Rowdy this morning. (Rowdy is a beanie baby.) Rowdy won!

Any funny moments happening at your house that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear them. Send Shelly an email at Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org. Hope you have a blessed week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Remember we are practicing being content by being grateful! What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Photo Albums

As moms we are constantly taking pictures of ourselves and we choose to categorize these images in one of three albums.

In photo album #1 we find snapshots of a woman who is always comparing herself to others--her body, her habits, the financial status of her family, and her skills. She has the overwhelming feeling that she has nothing to offer the world. She is constantly striving to be something or someone she was not meant to be. She feels like she is not capable of doing enough as a mom or friend, and she always worries about what others are thinking of her.

Beneath the cover of photo album #2 we find a smiling woman. But if you look closely, it's not her smile, but one she cut out and pasted to her face (kind of like those hips on magazine covers). She is focused on other people, sort of. With her plastered smile she "listens" to her friend while organizing the rest of the day in her head. She musters her energy to prepare an extra-special meal for her husband, but is frustrated by the end of it because the cake didn't rise. She offers to help with the nursery, only to find herself wishing she hadn't. She goes to bed exhausted from the day, dreading the start of tomorrow. She is tired-out and burned-out. She wonders how she can keep up this pace.

Then last, inside photo album #3, we find another woman. She is the one the first woman longs to be like and the one the second lady works hard to match. She has a listening ear for a friend even when it means the plan for her day will change. She looks at other women with God's loving camera, being more concerned about how someone feels than how they dress. Because she is depending on God's strength, she is able to instruct and train rather than yell at her child. She spends time with God not out of duty but because she loves Him. She climbs into bed at night and thanks God for His goodness.

Does the lady in photo album #3 sound a little too perfect? Don't worry, she's not. It's just that by spending time with God she has learned to be more and more like Him. Her eyes have been focused on the Lord, and He has kept His promise: "Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" (Psalm 34:5). It isn't something that happened to her overnight.

Actually, she has three photo albums just like you and me. She has been through those same stages. On occasion she still adds photos to those first two albums--comparing, then doing all she can to measure up. But gradually she began walking more in step with the Lord, dealing with spills and schedules more calmly, thinking the best of her family and friends. And as she did, her third photo album began to grow. Because of her focus on the Lord she is able to love God; therefore, she is able to love her neighbors (friends, co-workers, husband, children); and now she is even able to love herself. Wow--three for one! We're moms, and we know a good deal when we see one!

When we choose to see ourselves and others from God's viewpoint there will be joy, regardless of our circumstances. When He is the focus, it takes the pressure off of us.
"Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" (Romans 12:2 The Message).

So there are three focal points to choose from. The choice seems obvious, but there are days I still find myself in album #1, comparing myself to every woman I meet (usually this happens at one particular time of the month). More frequently I find myself putting photos in album #2, thinking I can handle everything on my own. But more and more I am opening album #3 as I learn to depend on Jesus, to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's great when I choose to zoom in on the love of the Lord and let Him fill me up so that I can share His love with those who mean so much to me.

Father, You know our tendency as women to be unhappy with who we are. Nudge me, Lord, when even a hint of comparison begins to come my way so that I can refocus my attention on You. Help me make time to get to know You. Show me how You created me uniquely to love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want to handle things like You would a little more every day. I pray You'll encourage me by letting me see changes that You have made in my Life. Thank You, Lord, for Your forgiveness and for always being there to help me refocus. Bless others through me. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

(from Sharon and Laurie's book Mom...And Loving It!)

Here is where we can encourage one another in this matter. How do you refocus? What are some Scriptures that help you refocus?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fun Monday

Mondays we can all use a smile to get us going. If you would like to share a fun moment you have had with your family, we would love to hear from you! Send them to Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org.

Today's Fun Monday post is from Mandy. Enjoy!