Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Life Savers

Today I thought I'd pass on a few things that have been great "savings" for our family...time saving, money saving, sanity saving ideas.

1. Put a red pen in your purse. This may sound nuts, but it really comes in handy for a last minute gift tag, a color other than black for kids to use to color during their sisters choir/band/theatre/orchestra performance! Christmas cards are prettier written in red.

2. Pick up some Adventures in Odyssey radio theatre CD's at your local Christian bookstore. If your kids are a little older, we particularly enjoyed the mystery series. These are GREAT for road trips. Sure we can watch movies, and we do, but listening allows us to look out the window and not miss the Christmas lights as we make our yearly trek to see family in another state.

3. Pick up the leftover greenery at your local Home Depot or Lowe's Building store. When they sell a Christmas tree, they cut off the bottom branches. Unless someone comes by to take these beautiful, pine smelling limbs, they are dumped in the trash. We have it all over our house. (See pic) When we are finished with them, they make great fire starters for our fireplace. (Just make sure you keep them away from the fireplace until you're ready for them to burn!)

4. Instead of trying to read all the Christmas letters when you get them, keep them in a basket. After Christmas, put the basket on your table and pray for one family each day. You can enjoy the letter more when the chaos dies down.

What are your quick, time/life/money/sanity saving tips?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"How Many Days Til Christmas, Mommy?!"

Every mom hears that question again and again! When my kids were little (and bugging me 15 times a day with "how long til Christmas" questions,) we came up with a project that has turned into a tradition.

Cut strips of paper (red and green is great, but white printer paper works), then link them together. If it's 24 days til Christmas, you need 24 strips. Number the strips, then make them into a chain. Each day have one of your kids take one link off.

Without asking, even the youngest kids have an idea of how long it is til the big day.

Here's to a calmer Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Not About Me...

It’s Not About Me!

I can’t remember the whole song, but the main line was, “It’s not about me. It’s all about You Lord.” Great lessons learned from a children’s song…That line has stuck with me.

Often, I make life revolve around MY circumstances and MY family, MY desires, MY ideas, MY needs, MY wants, MY schedule. But, when it’s all about ME, I miss the point.

Look at the different focus of Ephesians 2:10 can have by simply reading it selfishly, then from a less prideful angle:

1. For WE are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD WORKS which He prepared in advance for US to do.”
2. For we are GOD’S WORKMANSHIP created in CHRIST JESUS to do good works which HE prepared IN ADVANCE for us to do.”

In the first verse, we are the focus. In the second, the focus is where it should be - on God and what He has done. The 2 verses right before this talk about how we are saved by grace, “through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9) It’s not about us…it’s all about Him.

You and I have been invited to be a part of a bigger picture: God’s plan for this time in history. God, the creator of the universe that made trees, eyes, fingerprints, ladybugs - the perfect ONE - has invited us to be part of HIS plan. Wow! That’s a lot to think about. Living for Him is much more exciting than anything I can cook up on my own.

Take a look at this video. It was a tool God used to open my eyes to see what His plan is; to remind me that it’s not about me, it really is all about Him.

Whenever you get a chance, teach these things to your children. Help them understand now, that it's all about Him.

Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grandparents Day is Sunday!

Hey Moms!
Grandparent's Day always sneaks up on me, so I thought I would give us a friendly reminder that it is coming up this Sunday, September 11th! Last year we posted several good ideas. You can check that out here. This is an idea that didn't make the list (because I thought of it after the post)... I made chocolate chip cookies with a card that said, "In the cookies of life, grandparents are the chocolate chips!"

This year, I made a card. You know those silly pictures that kids always want to take, but they usually don't make the scrapbook? I took several of those with a caption, "We are crazy about you!" Then the kids signed it and we are set.

Grandparents are such a blessing--whether they are related by blood or grand-angels that have come into your life. Let's honor them with a great big "We love you!" this week.

How do you honor grandparents in your life? I'm going to need a new idea for next year!

posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries assistant

Monday, September 5, 2011

Looking for an event speaker?

Are you planning a Women's event? Laurie and Sharon are passionate about setting women free to impact the next generation. Through their songs and stories, they share their genuine hearts and connect with women. We would love to partner with you to reach women in your church and community. Contact us today about booking an event!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Family Movie Night

Hey, Family Movie Night is back! Our family has really enjoyed these family friendly movies. Moms4FamilyTV does a great job and we want to pass the word along so you will support them too and keep the quality entertainment coming! Get your popcorn, relax, and enjoy Family Movie Night!

Game Time: Tackling the Past Official Trailer from on Vimeo.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Three Things to Make Marriage Better

I received an email article from FamilyLife this morning and felt like it was too good to keep to myself. Marriage is hard (for all of us...even our husbands) and often couples throw in the towel when some simple actions...really simple could have made all the difference.

Whatever the state of your marriage, I encourage you to read this. Or if your single, go ahead and give it a read to know how to handle a future relationship.

Our commitments are worth our effort, so join me in putting down the pride and loving our guys!
Hope you have a great day!


Phil. 4:13 - "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Glad/Sad to See Them Go

For some of us, School Bells sound heavenly. For others, it feels like mourning. I experience this from a homeschool world (where I am the one who "rings the bell") and as a mom of kids in public school.

Both feelings are normal. I actually feel both of the emotions. I enjoy the routine of our schedule - knowing what to expect (for the most part!) for the days. But, at the same time I miss the spontaneity of living with less of a routine.

Whatever we "feel" about the ending of summer, here are some verses that I think are encouraging. These are all about our words.
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. Prov. 12:25
"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in silver settings. Prov. 25:11 (my bible described apples of gold and silver as wisdom)
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov. 15:1
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Prov. 16:25
And my favorite...."The wise in heart are called discerning and pleasant words promote instruction."Proverbs 16:21 (emphasis mine - we need all the promoting of instruction that we can get! Pleasant words are the way to help that need.)

If you have a verse that encourages you, or maybe one that you would like to pray for your family, please feel free to add to this list in your comments.

Cheering you on moms as you begin another year of loving, raising, driving, helping, washing, cleaning, and encouraging your kiddos! Sounds overwhelming, but these years will come to an end, so let's make it a great one!!

Sharon Autry

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Family Movie Night!

Moms4FamilyTV have another great flick for us and Family Movie Night is back! Get the popcorn and your family together and enjoy an evening together! This Saturday, August 6th, 8/7c on NBC.

Who is Simon Miller? :30 Movie Trailer from on Vimeo.

Click here for a discription of the movie, along with values in the movie and discussion starter ideas for parents.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday...

Today...I'm thankful for everything! Sounds silly, but even the rough stuff I know is shaping me. I'm also thankful for Shelly, our administrative assistant! Everybody needs a Shelly to help you stay on top of things! Love you girl!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun Monday

(Shelly) Here is a funny story that is a sign of the times. Have your kids ever acted like the gate you had to go through to get into the other room? When my daughter was three, she was the gate to the laundry room. I asked, "May I come in please?"

She replied, "Press the 'Are you sure?' button!" (You know how computers always ask you "Are you sure you want to leave this page? Yes or No.) I thought it was pretty funny!

Have your kiddos said anything silly lately? Enjoy the moments!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thankful Thursday

(Shelly) I've been doing a Bible study on the fruit of the Spirit. Today I'm very thankful for God's patience with me. He never gives up on me! I'm so thankful!

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wastin' Wishes

When my husband was a kid, he would wish for things he couldn't have or didn't need--like a new bike, a designer shirt, or staying up an extra thirty minutes--and his mom would say, "You're wastin' wishes." It annoyed him then, but he has since realized that wasting wishes means wasting your time. When we are always wanting more, we miss out on what we have.

It's easy to be distracted by all the stuff. I don't necessarily want a new house, but you can bet that I want the house we have to be clean (wish #1) and I'd like it to be decorated as perfectly as the houses on HGTV (wish #2). I can wish for more money (#3) to use for decorating and maybe even some landscaping out front (#4). I can look at the clothes someone else is wearing and wish for a new wardrobe (#5). When I pull up beside a shiny SUV in my dirty van with the bumper falling off and a missing hubcap, I can feel poor and wish we could bu a fancy new vehicle (wish #6).

Our wishes could go on and on, couldn't they? Having an SUV or a landscaped yard aren't bad things. But when I'm disgruntled because our neighbor's yard looks great or I'm embarrassed to pull my vehicle out of my garage, those wishes rob me of both my time and my joy.

Have you ever been caught in the trap of wishing for things that you don't really need and can't afford? Have you found yourself irritated, finding that the source of your unhappiness is rooted in wishing for things to be different? Talk about wastin' wishes!

Again, it's not that having nice things or going shopping are bad things. It's when the nice things consume our thoughts and emotions and get in front of our relationship with God that they become a problem. When we are caught up in the stuff, we miss the joy. Proverbs 13:7 puts our wishes and wanting more in perspective:

"A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life" (The Message).

Luke 12:15 warns us to "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (or the school his child attends, or the job he holds). I have often told my children that we might not be rich in money, but we are rich in relationships--with God and one another. They believe it and have reminded me on my "wastin' wishes" days that we are rich because we have "the coolest family in the world."

We've all been guilty of comparing what we have with what others have. It is a trap. Don't fall for it today. When you catch yourself wishing for things to be different, stop and say thank you for what you do have. You are worth far more than the abundance of your possessions. When you are wishing for more things, remember that a showy life is an empty life. Instead, focus on being "rich toward God' (Luke 12:21 The Message). We've been given so much. How could we waste wishes, wishin' for more?

Lord, our society is filled with things we "need." Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between what we really need and what we want. Please help us focus on what You have for us. When our eyes become distracted by "stuff" or another family who seems to have it better than we do, remind us that we are rich because of our relationship with You. Our family members alone represent wealth beyond measure. Help us to be on guard against all kinds of greed. Thank You for not counting our worth by our possessions. Teach us not to fight having a plain and simple life but to value that simplicity. Wishin' for all You have for us, we pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

from Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy

Friday, May 27, 2011

"I'm bored!" Suggestions

School has only been out for a few days but it will not be long before we hear the dreaded "I'm bored," whine coming from our kids. So here is a list of suggestions. Please add your ideas because we are going to need them!

take initiative (See Sharon and Pat's family plan for details on this)
visit a neighbor
call grandparents, aunts & uncles, or cousins
make, craft, my bed!
go outside
ride bike
math website
work on building a website
take pictures
write a note to someone
play a board game
Wii tournament
water guns

Summer reading and movies

We are always looking for some good books for all ages. What do you like to read with your kids? Or for older ones reading on their own, what keeps them coming back for more?

Preschool-young readers
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide! by Candace Fleming
Fix-it-Duck by Jez Alorough
Will--God's Might Warrior by Shelia Walsh
Gigi--God's Little Princess by Shelia Walsh
Hermie and Friends by Max Lucado
We love all of Max Lucado's children's books, like You are Special.

School age readers
A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson (Our library has many of these on tape and they are great for car trips! We all laugh!)

Older readers

What about you Mom? Read any good books lately?
If you have not read Sharon and Laurie's books Mom...And Loving It! and Hold You, Mommy! I highly recommend them!

What about good family movies?
The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

Moms 4 Family tv have produced five movies for tv over the last year that my family has really enjoyed. They are available on DVD now...The Secrets of the Mountain, The Jensen Project, A Walk in My Shoes, Change of Plans, and Truth be Told. They have another one scheduled to come out this summer called Field of Vision. Here is the trailer.

Field of Vision Movie Trailer from on Vimeo.

As you can see there are some gaps here. Let me know what you and your family are reading and help me fill it in. Thanks!

Shelly's framework for the Summer

Ground rules:
* Work first, then play
* Read a little/rest every afternoon
* On our idea list--we are going to try to limit it to one per day. My kids could wear me out jumping from one thing to the next!
* Ideas that are more pricey are limited to one every week or so (within reason)
* We live far from the big city with entertainment, so those "go" trips are limited to once a week

I made a list of the weekly housework jobs that have to be done. I want them to see what is expected before we can play. I also have a list of work projects that I want to do. Things like clean out my closet, clean out the kids toys and books, and clean out the garage. Oh, and Christmas shopping! My fall calendar is already crazy, so I need to get a jump start! Then there is a list of kids' responsibilities: keep your room clean, keep the house public ready (that means keep it in a state that I'm not totally embarrassed if someone drops by), do your house job for the week. My goal is to plan out the week where we have a few jobs each morning and get an idea for our fun. Hopefully that will help me to plan for fun and them to not badger me so much if they can see when it is coming.

Fun ideas that are a little pricy:
* Go to Chuck E. Cheese
* Go to the Children's Museum
* Go to the Activity Center
* Go to the movie (We have a drive-in near us, and we are planning to go see Cars 2 there! I've never been to a drive-in--I'm so excited!)
* Let the kids choose one of the kids kits at Hobby Lobby (hopefully when they are on sale), and take a day to actually do it!
* Go to a baseball game. We have a minor league team in our area, and we love to go see the Rangers!
* Go ride horses. My kids love that!

Some Go ideas that are less money:
* Swim
* We have a state park near us that has a Children's Nature Program and it is free! Last year we did the Family Nature Hike and we really enjoyed it.
* Bowling--you can sign up for Kids Bowl Free all summer! (You still have shoe fees, but you save a lot!) If you have a participating bowling center near you, this is a good deal and family fun!
* Library story time
* Parks and Recreation Department might have weekly programs for kids. We had one where we used to live and it was great!
* Vacation Bible School

Fun at the House ideas:
* Toy Town--build lincoln log house, my daughter's horse stables, tinker toy playground, hot wheels race track and set up the train between it...we will have our own little town!
* Sleep outside in the tents
* Paint/crafts
* Games
* Wii tournament
* Puzzles
* Water guns
* Slip n slide
* Write cousins or friends
* Call/write grandparents

Being intentional
A few years ago, Focus on the Family had a program called the Character Crew. I printed off all the information and activities, but it was a little too much for them. Now I think it will work better. It is still available on online here.

Sharon and Pat's summer plan

On Initiative: Gb4Wb4F = God before Work before Fun.
We were just gong to put Wb4F, but we really want them to take initiative in growing their relationships with God. Our "W" has eyes inside it to show initiative, meaning "Look around to see what needs to be done." Take initiative in helping. It's been a big theme of ours. Mom and Dad don't need to tell you everything to do. If you see a bug that's dead on the floor that needs to be swept up, sweep it up. If the dogs have pawed the windows on the backdoors, clean them. Be self-motivated rather than mom-motivated.

A Game we played: one at a time, look around the house and come back with 3 things you see that you could take initiative to make better. Mom and Dad had to name 5 things. We started with the youngest then ended with Mom (even though I'm not the oldest...ahem!) and nobody could say what someone else had already said. It was a good exercise in opening our eyes.

On Bedtime/wake-time: We set some loose bedtimes and wake times.

On "I want to have a friend over":
1. Look at your calendar (each kid made one with their activities in one color and the rest of the family in another color).
2. Is anything going on during the time you want your friend to come over? Is Mom busy?
3. Always clear plans with Mom or Dad before talking or texting the person you want to invite.

On "What can I do? I'm bored!":
We got the kids to help us make a list of "Things I could do." They are workout, read, play Wii (our kids are earning TV and Wii time by reading or working on a math website), take initiative to clean something, talk on the phone, make food, play outside, have a friend over, volleyball, ride bikes, basketball, play on the trampoline, practice typing, work on creating a website (our teen), take pictures, create something, write out the plan for the week, ask Mom how I can help her...(I love that one!)

On "Hurry up, let's go!":
This is for all year...and I stole this from Laurie. She has asked her kids to say, "Mom do you need me to help with something" or "How can I help you?" or "Do you have your phone, keys, purse?" (ha ha ha! I'm forever leaving then coming back for something I've forgotten!) Instead of, "Let's go! What is taking so long!" How can I help you gets everybody on the same team and teaches them cooperation, grace, and servanthood.

On "I'm hungry!":
* We found these great popsicles at Target in the dollar spot--10 popsicles for $1! They have no high fructose corn syrup and are only 20 caleries each. The kids love them!
* Snacks between meals are okay, but need to be limited.
* One sweet thing per day. Go for some fruit!
* If you're hungry, ask Mom, "How can I help you with dinner?" I told them I would have e-mealz in the cabinets for them to be able to prepare if I was going to be out of pocket.

Do you have any ideas along these lines to help you thrive this summer?

Summer Box of Tricks!

You have found the main page of our Summer Box of Tricks! Check back often and see what we have added!

Ready or comes summer!
Sharon and Pat's summer plan
Shelly's framework for the summer
Summer reading and movie suggestions
"I'm bored!" Suggestions

Some more helpful, inspiring ideas from other moms!
* In 2009 Jill Savage started a campaign of sorts to be a "yes" Mom. Read more about it on her blog here. (Notice that she hosted a contest before, but the deadline has already past. But the challenge to be a "yes" mom is still good!)

* This is one of my (Shelly's) real life friends, Jenni. She has a good idea for summer on her blog here.

Ready or comes summer!

Shelly (our amazing administrative assistant) and I (Sharon) had a conversation on the phone last week about summer...I started telling her how excited I was about summer. She said, "I'd like to be, but I'm dreading it a little." Once we started talking, I began to remember the past few summers...endless plans from all my kids, driving all over creation, spending more money than we should, and frustration over failing to finish what I had started. We decided it would be a great topic for the blog. Shelly wrote this one and did a great job. I'll tell you what we've done since at the end...

It's the last day of school! The kids will be home, I can't wait! We are going to have so much fun!

It's the last day of school. Ugh. The kids will be home all day begging to do this and go there. It wears me out just thinking about it.

(Shelly) You may not be on one extreme or the other, but you fall somewhere along that line. I really want to be a mom who enjoys my kids and looks forward to them being home all summer, but honestly I'm dreading it a little. (I must say this year is better than last year.) Then I feel guilty. I know they are blessings, gifts from God, and I'm so thankful for healthy kids. But some days it feels like they drain the life out of me. I want to thrive this summer, not just survive! Growing up, we spent summers either at grandparents' houses, camp or at home watching TV until we scurried to do our jobs for the day before Mom got home from work, so I don't have a blueprint for this. (I can still say lines from Princess Bride and Man from Snowy River word for word!) With my kids, I look back over the summer and wish I had created or taken advantage of more opportunities to enjoy them and to teach them because I know that "these days are passing much too fast." I know the ideal I want, but I don't know how to get there.

Anybody else?

First of all, I need to let go of some unrealistic expectations. I feel like everyone else has it all together, and I am the only one that struggles with this. That is simply not true. Find a friend who you can be transparent with and you might be surprised. I know I was.

This has been on my mind for a while, and of course, God meets me where I am. I'm doing Beth Moore's study about the fruit of the Spirit, Living Beyond Yourself. I am only halfway through it, but here are two things already that will help me through the summer.

Peace...Part of what I dread is the fussing and fighting (I have a son 10, daughter 7, and son 5). I just want peace! Beth pointed out that peace comes with rule. "The key to true peace is the rule of Christ." (Look at Colossians 3:15.) This is changing my perspective as a mom. I'm not real bossy and my kids tend to run over me at times. (I hate admitting that, but it is true.) If I will bow to the authority of Christ, then step up in the role He has placed me in and set some rules, my house will be more peaceful. I'm not talking a whole book, but a few simple guidelines that will make some of the decisions for me and bring more peace.

Patience...I know--this is a characteristic we avoid asking for because we don't want the assignments that prove it! Hang with me. What I learned gave me a little freedom in this. There are two different words used for patience in the Bible. One pertains to enduring things or circumstances and is inspired by hope. The other is in respect to people and is inspired by mercy. The patience to endure is something we need and can pray for. Patience with others is "impossible except when expressed by God through us." Whew! I've tried so hard to be patient with people on my own and it didn't work. It is not up to me! My responsibility is to be filled with the Spirit and allow Him to express His patience through me. For some reason that seems easier.

People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Isaiah 26:3 The Message

OK, *deep breath* I am gaining more of a vision for this summer! I hope you are too. This summer on the blog (and website), we would like to have ideas to have fun and seize teachable moments with our kids, and we need your help. We are real moms just like you looking for solutions too! If you have an idea you would like to share, we would love to hear it! These are kids of things we are looking for...

* How do you manage the day in your house? Simple guidelines that help bring peace.

* Bible verses that keep you focused on God.

* Teachable moments--short little encounters that bring the God-factor out of everyday situations.

* Activities to fill the day for all ages:

* Favorite books to read with your kids

* Family movies
* Fun games to play

You can email your ideas to Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org, or join in on the comments!

(Sharon) Great thoughts, Shelly! Thanks for verbalizing what so many of us feel. Since our conversation, all of us (Laurie too) have become intentional about planning "real" things into our summer schedules and creating some summer rules in order to gain some peace. We'll post our ideas here and have a link to them on the website. We thought about posting through the summer, but these are ideas you may want now! So we will post them all in the "Summer Box of Tricks!" Open it up and see what is new!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fun Monday

(Shelly) Recently a friend and I were talking about how sugar is a great motivator in our families. It reminded me of a funny story.

At the time, we didn't regularly have dessert after supper, so for me to have planned to make a dessert was a big deal and the kids knew it. I was trying to get supper fixed and on the table while my 6-year-old son and 3-year old daughter were chasing each other through the kitchen into the living room and back through the kitchen in a circle. I had asked them to quit. My husband told them to quit. I asked them to quit again but it just wasn't happening--they were having too much fun! So finally I had enough and yelled, "Fine! You're not getting dessert!" Oh, the water works and the begging started! We finally got them calmed down enough to sit at the table, but they were still upset. Hubby asked if either of them would like to pray before supper. My son jumped at the chance. "Dear God, thank You for this food. And please let Mom and Dad change their mind about dessert. At least about me. I don't care if Sister gets it or not..." Honestly, I didn't hear the rest of the prayer because I was laughing too much!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

(Sharon) I'm thankful that I am the one who gets to see my child's handwriting develop. Just like kids personalities are all different, their handwriting is different too. One of mine loves to embellish. One is a creative, sort of everywhere writer, and the other looks like it was printed in a book! I am thankful I get to notice how their handwriting grows and changes with them.

What are you thankful for this Thankful Thursday?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before You Burst!

(Laurie) Have you ever blown up a balloon bigger and bigger, thinking with every breath it was going to burst? Finally it does. Before it popped, you had two choices: to keep blowing until it popped, or to stop and let the air out. When we become angry, disgrunteled, or get in a funk for whatever reason, we have two choces: to let the anger rise until we burst with angry words, or admit we are struggling and end the pressure build up. That sounds so easy, but it's hard to do when you feel justified in your anger.

I've noticed that if I go on without telling my husband I'm struggling, I eventually blow up at him. But if I swallow my pride, and admit I'm wrong, and just tell him I'm strugglling, it "lets the air out," breaks down the wall I've been building, stops the vicious cycle, and as a result we can peacefully move on. My husband can be so understanding and loving when he knows I'm having a tough day. That's so much better than saying things that are hurtful to him, words I'll later regret.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Father, You have a better way. Please help me choose Your way instead of my selfish, prideful way. It really is easier that way. Teach me to love my husband and please help us grow into the couple You want us to be. In Jesus' Name amen.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fun Monday

(Sharon) My oldest (14) came to breakfast one morning and asked me if she smelled good. I sniffed her. She wasn't very strong, but there was a faint smell of floral something. She laughed and said, "It's Febreeze!" Cheap perfume!

Hope that brings you a smile this Monday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thankful Thursday

(Shelly) Today I'm thankful for the Body of Christ, especially Christian girlfriends. There is just something about getting together with someone who is safe to visit with, laugh with, cry with and share my heart. I can count on them to encourage and support me when I need it. And it adds purpose to my life when I can be there for them as well. I hope that you have a group of girls like this at your home church or Moms group, maybe a MOPS group. If you don't, you could start one! Laurie and Sharon's books, Mom...and Loving It! and Hold You, Mommy, are great for small group studies and discussion starters. You can even make an appointment with them to call or skype with your group! Just an idea. You can contact me if you have any questions at Shelly(at)MomAndLovingIt(dot)org. Hope you have a blessed Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


(Sharon) I've walked by the mirror at times and caught a glimpse of myself. To my surprise, I looked horrible! It wasn't simply that my hair and makeup weren't fixed, or that I was still in my pajamas, but my face looked as though I'd just taken a sip of those sour apple juice bags my kids love to drink. I realized that I needed to smile more. Smiling makes you feel better. And guess who else feels better when Mom smiles? Husbands and kids really appreciate a smile from the main lady in the house.

Unfortunately, the saying is true; "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I long for my face to be my family's refuge. The world can be a cruel place for our husbands and children. If they come home to a disagreeable, discontented wife/mom, their place of safety becomes uncomfortable for them. Some synonyms of refuge describe what a cheerful look can be for our family: a safe haven, a sanctuary, a shelter, a place of safety and protection, a harbor, and a retreat. It is my goal for my husband to look at me, no matter where we are, and feel "safe." The neat thing is, when my face is loving, loving words and actions usually follow.

This is my goal--not something I've completely achieved, but what I'm aiming for. I have to remind myself that this is my goal or I fall into a marital slump and my face slides back into the sour-apple pose again. The couple I saw at church lovingly looking at each other reminded me that I was doing it again--looking disagreeable. By the look on her husband's face, I knew he had found a safe place in her face--at least that day. She's probably not that way all the time either. But that incident jolted me out of my selfish, discouraging frame of mind and back into the reality I want to live in , one of love and encouragement for my husband.

[The Man] You're so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled by your hair as it flows and shimmers, like a flock of goats in the distance streaming down a hllside in the sunshine. Your smile is generous and full--expressive and strong and clean. Your lips are jewel red, your mouth elegant and inviting, your veiled cheeks soft and radiant. The smooth, lithe lines of your neck command notice--all heads turn in awe and admiration!
Song of Solomon 4:1-3
The Message

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fun Monday

(Shelly) I have told lots of silly stories on my kids, so here is one on me. Saturday I slid my flip flops off in the car and propped my foot up on the dashboard...the freshly armoralled dashboard. I didn't think anything about it until I slipped my flips back on and just about slid out of my shoes as I tried to walk! Thankfully we were going to a ball game and a little dirt fixed the problem. Now I know!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful that God values mothers. It is a very challenging job that many of the things we do go unnoticed and unapreciated, but He sees and He knows. He placed each one of us in this place at this time with these people for a purpose.

A few weeks ago we shared what is it about our children we are thankful for. Today let's look at moms. What is it about being a mom are you thankful for? If you would like to honor your mother, what are you thankful for about her?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Handprint

(Laurie) The girls were so excited! We were finally going to paint their room. We were doing our own episode of the "complete room makeover." All the furniture was moved away from the walls and the plastic drop cloth was in place. Of course I was going to be a "good" mom and let my three children--ages three, six, and eight--help.

I began with the oldest. Alec did pretty well keeping the most of the paint on the wall. Only a little got on his elbow when he accidentally bumped the wet paint. Next came the six-year-old. Tripping over the drop cloth as she entered the room, Abby caught herself between the wall and dresser. She already had paint down one side of her body, and she hadn't even begun painting.

Frustrated by her clumsiness, I scolded, "Be careful, honey! You are going to get paint everywhere!" Apologizing, she stood at attention, waiting for her orders. Providing her with specific instructions, I handed over the paint roller.

She was a little surprised that it was more challenging than she'd anticipated. However, she was determined; she rolled most of the paint out of the roller. As she refilled her roller with paint, it seemed to have a leak at one end. It dripped down the roller, missing the paint pan (of course), and fell on the drop cloth.

She looked up at me with an "oops" look on her face. With little patience, I responded, "Don't step in it or you'll track it all over the house!" She finally finished her section of the wall, and now it was the three-year old daughter's turn. (What was I thinking?) I wiped my brow and sighed with exasperation. I tried my best to put on a "happy face" as my littlest bounced toward the room. She had been waiting patiently for "her turn."

As she walked in the door, she leaned in one direction to step around the furniture. As she did, she put her hand on the wall to brace herself. Immediately she removed her hand and looked at me with a stunned expression. "Avery, honey," I said, "you can't touch the wall. Remember, it's wet." I looked around for something to clean her hand, but found nothing. I pulled at my shirt. "Here, wipe your hands on this" I said. She apologized profusely as she excitedly approached the painting pan. I handed her the paint roller, and she did her best to get most of the paint on the wall.

She was doing great until she got off balance and leaned into the wall. Again, she forgot and caught herself with her hand. Suddenly I felt all the patience drain from my body. I had none left. I raised my voice impatiently: "Avery, don't touch the wall!"

Disappointed in herself, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, "I'm sorry, Mommy. I didn't mean to." I told her it was okay, and she wiped her hand on my shirt once again. I convinced her that Mommy could finish the rest.

Several days after finishing the project, I was unloading the dryer. As I began folding the clothes, I pulled my old paint shirt from the pile. I was shocked when I saw it. There on the front of my shirt was a perfect little green handprint. Tears welled up in my eyes as I gazed at it. You see, I had been so worried about getting the job done "right" that I had forgotten to focus on what was important--enjoying the journey with my precious children.

Now, every time I see that shirt, I am thankful that Avery fell into the paint that day. If she hadn't, I wouldn't have such a vivid reminder of how precious life is!

Lord, help me to remember that being a parent is a privilege, not a punishment. Please don't let the weight of my daily responsibilities rob me of my sense of wonder. Remind me that the children You have placed in my care are as individually unique as their handprints. I thank You, Lord, for each of my children, and I am grateful that You've given them to me. Amen.

Mother's Day idea for the grandmothers: use your kids' handprints on the gift so that it has a personal touch only they can give.

from Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fun Monday

(Shelly) Whew! It is still Monday right? Made it! Anyone else having crazy weeks? I guess it is the season! Here is a funny spring story. From our house...

My oldest son came and reported that my 2-year-old daughter had thrown a shoe away. So I went to the trash and retrieved the shoe. There it was. Complete with the dead bug she had killed on the bottom of it! (She wasn't a big fan of bugs at the time!)

Hope you have a good week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun Monday

(Shelly) I was helping my daughter clean up her room, and put all of her stuffed animals in their place. We have several stuffed friends from the Hermie the Caterpillar stories; one being Flo the Fly. This particular day, my daughter was about 2 years old, and she picked up Flo with her two fingers by the tip of the wing, stood at the threshold of her door, and tossed Flo in the hallway. "Dis a bug!" she said. I explained who she was, and we read the book together. Only then was Flo allowed back into her room!

Do you have any funny bug stories with your kids this spring?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fun Monday

Davis saw all the June bugs and said, "Mom they should have named June bugs, April bugs." Have your kiddos said anything silly lately?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Family Movie Night

Family Movie Night is back this Saturday! Thanks to Moms4FamilyTV for promoting programming like this. Spread the word!

Truth Be Told :30 Trailer from on Vimeo.

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that God never takes His eye off of us, that His timing is perfect, and that I can trust Him completely--if I only will! I feel like the man in Mark 9:24 that said, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" I truely believe God can do whatever He wants, but in the nitty gritty of the moment, I need His help to overcome my doubts.

Growing to believe Him more, Sharon

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Place to Dwell

As my sister-in-law was reading a book to my girls, she came across the line "Don't dwell on it." Crislynn stopped her and said, "What does 'dwell' mean?" Brittlea, my eight-year-old (at the time), piped up, "It's where you live." At first we thought her definition didn't fit the context of the sentence, but the more we considered it, we realized it fit perfectly.

Sometimes my kids will confess things they are thinking if they feel guilty for their thoughts. I tell them that just because they have a bad thought or idea doesn't mean they have sinned. Just as we don't intend to let a fly into our house, thoughts can loom at the door of our minds and enter without invitation. It's when we don't do anything to rid ourselves of the pesky thought that it becomes sin.

I believed my kids were the ones who needed to hear this advice as they struggled with thoughts that made them feel guilty. However, as Laurie and I talked one day, she said, "Sharon, we're doing the same thing. We're beating ourselves up for things we think. Maybe I am about to blow up inside, making me feel guilty, but when I don't blow up I'm exercising self-control--and that's something I can feel good about."

As moms, it's easy for us to be hard on ourselves, feeling guilty for things that were only thoughts. But we need to remember something: If we didn't stop there, unload, and hang pictures on the wall, we haven't done anything wrong. It's when we dwell there that we run into problems.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." That's how we fight the tendency to dwell on things that take our eyes off of the Lord. When the thoughts come, take them to the Lord and get rid of the ones that don't match His character.

If you are dwelling on something you said to your kids (maybe you jumped all over them for swinging and bruising the grocery bag full of fresh fruit), ask forgiveness from God and your kids--then move on. When you feel guilty for your harsh words again, don't start building a house around that thought; rather, shoo it out the door of your mind because you have been forgiven.

If you are having silent conversations with your husband because he left his clothes out again, take that thought captive, and tear down the walls that have started going up by praying for him as you put the lost clothes where they belong. If you're feeling guilty for the actions of your children (such as when they fuss about anything and everything), pray for them and discipline when you need to, but remember: We are all responsible for our own actions, not the actions of others (including our children).

Where have you been dwelling today? Where will you live for the rest of today! The good news is, you have a choice. When those thoughts sneak into your mind, take them captive. don't dwell there. No one wants to live in that neighborhood!

Lord, You know the thoughts that are common to my mind. Help me to not feel guilty for things I think that I immediately push out of my thoughts. And help me identify those things that I am dwelling on that have already begun to build walls--walls that need to be torn down. One day spent in Your house beats thousands spent elsewhere. I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin (Psalm 84:10). Open my eyes when I'm living somewhere other than with You. How lovely is Your dwelling place! Dwelling on You, in Jesus' Name, amen.

from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun Monday

Here is a funny story from Laurie's family... Addison does funny things all the time. The other day he said he had a "hypothosis." I said, "Oh really, what is it?" He said, "Worms poop on you when you pick them up because they are scared." Then he added, "Baby ducks do the same thing. I know, because when I picked up Ms. Sandy's baby ducks, they pooped too. I think it was because they were scared!" I think his hypothesis was right! Have your little scientists made any funny hypothesis lately?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It has been a while since we said we are thankful for our kids. But I want to get a little more specific today. There are times when they are on our last nerve that it is easy to see to see their faults, but we need to take the time to be thankful for their strengths. Today I'm thankful that my oldest son is outgoing and includes everyone. He is a great big brother. I'm thankful that my daughter is strong and determined. If we can train her in the right direction, she will make a positive difference in her world. My youngest son loves to laugh, and he gets me out of my serious mode. What is it about your kids that you are thankful for today? Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Activities

Opening week of baseball season! Whoo-hoo! Anybody else excited about that? I was not always that way. I wasn't really a sports girl. I didn't play sports in school, and we didn't watch a lot of sports. When I stayed at my grandparents house as a girl and Papaw turned on the baseball game, I thought it was so b.o.r.i.n.g. Then I met my SweetHeart who loves baseball. He took me to a Rangers game and I was hooked. He taught me how to score a game. That helped me learn the rules and understand what was happening. Now I really enjoy the slow pace as we enjoy the game together--especially when we can go to a live game. As our kids have reached the age to play little league, they can't wait to sign up! And it has been so much fun to watch them play.

Here is a question for you...I'm sure your springs are super busy too. How do you manage meals and practices and games and...?

Have your likes changed over the years too? What spring activities do you enjoy with your family?

posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fun Monday-The Catcher

(Shelly) My family really likes baseball (more on that Wednesday). So it was no surprise when our kids got old enough to play, they could not wait to sign up! We have spent many an hour at the baseball diamond, and some of those moments have been comical. My son, age 5, played catcher his second season. Dad was his coach and he told him, "You know, you can talk to the batters and kind of distract them." The next game he tried asking them questions, but that didn't really work for him. Then he thought, I like to sing. I'm pretty good at it, and that might be distracting. So he began to sing his own made up songs at the top of his voice! I'm the singing catcher. And I'm trying to distract you, so you strike out! I don't know if the players were bothered by it, but the opposing coaches (who were pitching), the umpire, and the fans were sure tickled! This month we are sharing stories about baseball (or sports) and spring. Do you have any to share? We would love to hear it!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This month of March we have been talking about adventures. Along the way do your kids ask you all kinds of questions? Mine do too. Many times the question is "Did God make that?" If it is something in nature, of course, I answer yes. But if it is man-made, I usually respond, "God gave someone the idea and a person made it." Today I'm thankful for vehicles that take us on adventures--whether it is bicycles, planes, trains, boats, or minivans--I'm thankful for God giving their inventors the idea to make it possible to explore His world. Side note: anyone else have a mini-midlife crisis when you got a minivan. We didn't even have any kids yet when we first got one! But that is another story. We have surely had our times of car trouble, but I'm thankful for what God has provided.

What are you thankful for today?

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grace to Face Adventure

Have you seen the orange juice commercial where the mom sits at the breakfast table and people from her day are there to give her a report of the mishaps of the day to come? The principal reports he will be calling about her son, co-worker says there is a problem at the office, other plans change.... Then she says something like, "It's a good thing I had my OJ to face the day."

We don't get a morning briefing or a map of our day. Actually, it is probably a good thing because there are days that if I had known what was coming, I would have just crawled back in bed! Here is one such day...

About 3 years ago, my youngest son was 2 and he woke me up early. He was wet from head to toe! I striped him down, cleaned him up, and got a new diaper. Then I went to his room to change the sheets, but his bed was completely dry. How could he be that wet and his bed be totally dry? About that time my daughter said, "Eew!" as she leaned on big brother's bed. Evidently, my youngest son crawled in my older son's bed after he went to school, and went back to sleep. So I started stripping the bed and cleaning the carpet. I went into my bathroom to get a rag for the carpet job and found my 2 year old spraying bathroom cleaner all over the bathroom! I finally got ALL that cleaned up and got breakfast ready. Thankfully I had just put the lid back on the very full bottle of purple grape juice because it got pushed off the cabinet! Then my daughter proceeded to spill the milk in her cereal. To which I responded in a loud, stern, frustrated mom voice, "Sit down, eat your breakfast, and stop goofin' off!" My daughter replied in a loud, stern, frustrated daughter voice, "Is that the way you talk to your daughter?" (Yes, it is going to get very interesting at our house in a few years!)

We finally made it through breakfast. My mom called to tell me something (more on that in a minute). While I was reading about that online, I heard sounds in the bathroom. I found my youngest picking up a wad of toilet paper out of the potty, squeezing it, and dropping it back in the potty. I really think he dropped it because I scared him when I yelled, "Gross! Gross! Gross!" (I'm praying it was clean water that he put clean paper in!) Got that all cleaned up...again gross! Later I was holding him and kissed his forehead and his hair was wet. I thought Oh, I hope that was just sweat! And it wasn't even lunchtime yet!

The phone call from my mom was to see if I had heard about Steven Curtis Chapman's family. His baby daughter, Maria, who just turned 5 was killed in a car accident. Their story was so similar to my family's that I was just sad all day and cried several times. As I recounted my day to my husband, I laughed about it. And then I cried because I'm sure my Mom, as well as the Chapman family, would treasure another potty diving day, and I spent the day being frustrated with my kids. It was definitely one of those days that I would have crawled back in bed had I known what was coming!

But we do know the One who sees it all and knows what is coming, and He gives us the grace to face whatever may come. Stephen Curtis Chapman has a song that says, "To Him the future is history." Our Heavenly Father invites us to meet with Him each morning, so He can remind us how much He loves us and give us direction for life. Then no matter what adventure may come in the day, we can say, "It is a good thing I have my Jesus to face the day."

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8
Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fun Monday

We were watching the weather on the news. The station we watch usually lists the 5-day forecast like this:

Monday--Sunny, 65
Tuesday--Partly Cloudy, 68
Wednesday--Partly Cloudy, 67

The weatherman had not quite reached that part of the report yet. He was covering the pollen count for the day and it was laid out in similar format:

Fungus 567
Grass 234
Cedar 89
Weeds 199
TOTAL 1089

To which my son, age 5 at the time, commented, "Boy! That last day is going to be a hot one!"

Warmer temperatures are on the way, but hopefully not that hot! And if you are suffering because of all the allergies in the air, please pass the Puffs!

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful today for God's handiwork. A few weeks ago I shared with you that we had to stay close to home because we were paying off debt. Well, this year that hard work is paying off, and we took an adventure away from home! (I'm not saying that to brag, just as an encouragement that if you are in the middle of it, keep going! It is so worth it!) Anyway, this year we took our kids to see the Grand Canyon. What a great reminder of God's creativity, His majesty, His hugeness! I'm so thankful He created places on earth that point us to Him!

Do you have a favorite place where God's handiwork reminds you of Him? I have some close to home, like sunsets. Some are farther that I don't see often, like the ocean.
Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adventure of a Lifetime!

Marriage--the adventure of a lifetime! Not what you expected to see? If you have been married for more than 5 minutes you know that it is a wild ride with all its ups and downs. Marriage, just as in parenting, you get no real training before you're full-time into the relationship. How are you supposed to know how to be married? TV has lots of suggestions...mostly scary ones! Your parents gave you a picture of marriage, but maybe they divorced and shook your view of a forever relationship. Even if you were raised in a two-parent home, it's possible that they weren't the best example of a loving relationship--maybe they just stayed together "for the kids." Or maybe your parents were terrific. But just because they openly showed their love for each other and they knew how to be married doesn't mean you automatically know how to do this marriage thing. You're a different person than your parents, which means you won't do things exactly like them. And your husband is different as well. Just as every lock has a unique key to make it work, each union between a man and a woman is going to work in its own unique way.

Why is marriage so hard? I knew there would be struggles, but this is so much work, and now that I'm a mom, I'm really tired! I was relieved to find compassion in Jesus' teaching in Mathew 19. He says, "'Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone....But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it'" (vv.11-12 The Message). I'm convinced that if we are married, we are capable of growing into the largeness of marriage with God's strength. But it is a huge undertaking, something we must grow into. Marriage is a relationship we start learning about the day we get married, and if we're smart we'll keep learning for the rest of our lives.

It's encouraging to know that marriage is no picnic for anyone. Marriage is work for every couple, no matter how easy they make it look. Research shows that the couples that have good marriages have the same amount of conflict that people with troubled marriages have. The difference is in how they deal with it. Marriage is worth the work. Don't give in just because it gets hard.


You know my heart for my husband. You know when I'm glad to be married to him and You know when I'm not so happy about being committed to him. With the demands of children and life sometimes I forget him, Lord. I forget why I was so giggly about him and what we did before we were married. Help me to remember. Restore what we have lost and grow us beyond what we can imagine. Forgive me for missing opportunities to encourage him and for the times when I chose to tear him down instead. Help me to work on myself rather than always trying to "fix" him. I want to love being his wife, just as I want to love being a mom. Help me to persevere when times are tough. Please help us both to grow into the couple You want us to be. Trusting You as I begin again, I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fun Monday

Professional in the Making
An adventure the past year for our family has been an ag project and going to stock shows. This past January we went to the Fort Worth Stock Show for the first time where my 10 year old showed his lamb. When he was packing for the trip, he was cracking me up! He said, "Mom, I want to look professional. Like I totally know what I'm doing and have been here before." (It is amazing what they pick up from us! He gets that from his dad!)

During some of their down time before the show, he decided he needed his boots shined because, you know, he wanted to look professional!

Has your family tried any new adventures this year?

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Malibu Meeting and MOPS Moms

This trip has been a whirlwind! I can't believe we only have one more full day! Here's the rundown...

Monday we were able to do some bargain shopping before heading to Pepperdine University where we met staff members and had a chance to visit with Dr. Canfield, his wife Dee, and Annlee. God has been weaving a plan for a long time that we didn't see (and still don't completely understand) that is exciting... Writing curriculum, learning objectives...We haven't thought of those things in quite a long time, but it's fun to have them on our minds again... The details are a little fuzzy for now. We will share more as we know it, but what we know is that GOD LOVES MOMS and He has a message for all of us mommies in His word.

We ended the day by having dinner with the Canfields at Paradise Cove in Malibu. The adults ate while the kids played on the beach. Kinda felt like a perfect evening.

Tues: Sharon and family left early and went to Riverside, CA to speak at The Grove MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). We loved spending time with this group. The kids were fast friends with the McIntire children. And sound guy, Rob McIntire, shared 88 slightly used AA batteries with Davis for his remote control helicopter. We pray for people to invest in our children along the way. God is always faithful to provide the people. We celebrated AnnNan's birthday by having the group sing to her. (AnnNan is Nancy Autry, Pat's sister...AnnNan - short for Aunt Nancy!)

Wed: We were all back at Disneyland. Our cousin Lisa and her son Jacob were able to join us again. It's been great to see them and get to catch up with our California Cousins. We were worn out after walking and walking. Every night has definitely been a good night of sleep...just short nights sometimes.

The Hilliards headed north Wed. night to meet the Emig family (friends from college) and to be near the location they would be speaking on Thurs. morning. The Autrys went south to San Clemente.

Thurs: Laurie spoke at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Her voice has been on the blink, but she said they were wonderful...getting her hot tea, cough drops, and lots of sweet words of encouragement. Yet, through all of it, Laurie in her understanding way, was able to care about the moms like no other. I think she is an amazing counselor/teacher. What a great ministry is going on there reaching out to so many moms.

I spoke at Pacific Coast Church in San Clemente. The mentor moms began the morning praying for the moms, for me and for the day - the right way to start anything! I was able to join some of the discussion groups to hear the joys and struggles of their mothering journeys.

Tomorrow, Laurie and her family will be speaking in Yorba Linda. We will have new pictures taken by sweet Tracey (totshots) again. Can't wait to see her again. Then, we will head to Canyon Lake to set up for our final event before heading home.

Thanks for praying for us. We appreciate it and please know that God has made Himself obvious to us through this week of adventure.
Blessings from the road...Sharon and the whole crew

Thankful Thursday

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The real St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland, and he used the three leaf clover to tell about the Trinity. Today as you see clovers around, pray for missionaries you know or for countries and the missionaries who work there. This Thursday, I'm thankful for missionaries in our country and around the world who leave their country and family as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who have not heard yet.
If you would like to leave a comment with the name of a missionary you know, we can pray for them too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No matter what adventure

We recently had grassfires burning in our area, and the TV kept broadcasting evacuations for the people in danger. The fires were probably within 10 miles of our house, but thankfully we were not in immediate danger. Unfortunately, many people lost their homes, but no lives were lost. With the news reports, my husband and I talked through what we might try to get if we had to be evacuated. That conversation only heightened my daughter's anxiety about the situation. She asked if she could get her stuff together. I told her she could get one bag if that would make her feel better. I went in her room later and this is what I found. She could not quite fit all of her life in one bag! That is ok, I couldn't either! And again, thankfully we didn't have to put our plan into action, but she was ready!

Our theme for March is adventures. Along our life journey, events can be life changing, and they can be good or... well...not so good. In fact, they can be down right scary and painful! There are some adventures that you anticipate, pack for and are very excited about! Like Spring Break Trips! Those are fun and I'm so glad we have those in life! Then there are some adventures that you get a little warning to prepare and you don't really want to put the plan in action. Sometimes it happenes and sometimes it doesn't. Then some adventures you find your self right in the middle of it before you even know what is happening--a loss, a change, a surprise, an earthquake. We have to enjoy the ones that we can. And the tough ones, know that our Heavenly Father is with us no matter what comes. Our job is to trust Him.

The Bible tells us of many of Paul's adventures. Sometimes he found wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged him on his way. Other times he was run out of town, barely escaping with his life. This is what he said:

I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.
I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.
I've found the recipe for being happy
whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.
Whatever I have, wherever I am,
I can make it through anything
in the One who makes me who I am.
Philippians 4:11-13 The Message

I wrote this before the disaster in Japan, and a little grassfire seems to pale in comparison. We are praying for the people of Japan, as they have found themselves in the middle of a very hard situation.

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fun Monday

Back Seat Driver

Sunday after church we stopped at Sonic to pick up lunch. We had our food and headed home. My husband turned left and pulled out into the turning lane and drove there for a little bit (I wasn't scared yet) before he realized he needed to scoot on over to the right lane. He said, "Oh, I guess I could move over." As he was saying that, our three-year-old was saying, "Dodge and weave! Dodge and weave!" (He had recently watched Disney's Cars.) I was laughing so hard that it took me a minute to interpret what he was saying for our driver!

Do you have any funny traveling or adventure stories we could share this month? We would love to hear it! You can send them to Shelly(at)momandlovingit(dot)org.

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gettin' Our Kicks on Route 66

We've been singing the song, "Route 66," as we make our way to California...We were at Amarillo by sunset, then Gallup NM by morning! The hours flew by. Thirteen hours felt more like 6 to me. Somebody must be praying!
Some Other Prayer Requests:
  • Everything has gone as planned except for the speed we use gas in the Hilliard's van as they pull the trailer...about 10.5 miles/gallon. I've never been so glad to see Clines Corners in all my life! They were on fumes after filling up not much before that. We are praying that God will stretch the gas as far as it will go. He could multiply food - why not gas?
  • Also, pray that God will grow our marriages while we're out here. It's no shock that trips can put a strain on relationships, but I'm planning on getting better.
  • We will be speaking to over 600 moms while we're in California. Pray for our hearts as we continue to prepare and for the ladies to be receptive. We hope they will be able to take some resources home that will encourage them after we're gone.
We've started reading The Bronze Bow, watched movies, listened to Adventures in Odyssey Mysteries, worked some, and Pat has been listening to podcasts from NorthPointe Church with Andy Stanley. Good stuff.
We got into our hotel very late last night, but I was wide awake at 6:30, so I'm getting a little quiet time. Laurie did the same! Crazy...I think we're excited! But, we are hoping for a nap later.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thanks for Praying!

Laurie and Sharon and their families are leaving soon for a mini-tour in Southern California. They will be speaking at moms groups in Riverside, San Clemente, Santa Clarita, and Yorba Linda. Then they will have a Mom...and Loving It! Conference in Canyon Lake. If you are in the area and would like to come, contact us and we will give you the contact information.

Many of you won't be in Southern California next week, but you will be praying for us. Thank you so much! We really appreciate it! Hope you have an adventurous sping break, even if it is in your backyard!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adventures Close to Home

A few years ago we were in the middle of Dave Ramsey's baby steps to pay off debt, and there was not a lot of extra money for a Spring Break Adventure. Anybody else been there? So that year we had adventures close to home! We rode the light rail train to our local zoo. And the kids loved it! You can tell they are kids of the safety seat era because they felt so free they raised their hands like they were on a roller coaster!

One night we slept in tents in our backyard. We set up two tents--two kids in one, and Mom with one kid in the other. That was the plan anyway. Reality found all four of us and the dog in one kid-sized tent! For breakfast we had pancakes (which is a treat at our house) just like we do when we go camping in Colorado in the summer.

The next day we had a bike ride to the playground. It wasn't anything too expensive, but it was out of our ordinary. Perfect for a spring break adventure close to home!

Do you have adventurous spring break plans? Even if it is close to home!

Posted by Shelly, Mom and Loving It Ministries Assistant

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Amazing Race

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”Hebrews 12:1

Have you seen the Amazing Race? Around 5:00 on Sundays, my family starts checking the time hoping that 60 Minutes stays within it’s allotted 60 minutes allowing The Amazing Race to come on at 7. We are real fans. I’ve been bugging my brother for years to be my partner and try to be on the show. We would be the middle-aged siblings…and we’d win because we’re both pretty scrappy and can do a little bit of everything.

Chris and I were the perfect contestants. My family was so convinced that we would be on the show that they were already sad about my being gone so long! Such sweet supporters!

Dec. 15, 2010. The Amazing Race was having try-outs in Durant, OK only an hour from our homes. This was our chance. It must be meant to be since the auditions were so close! We decided what to wear - Texas Rangers shirts to represent Texas and our Rangers who made their first ever trip to the World Series in 2010 (Go Rangers!) I even bought a new pair of boots!

I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I thought we were the only and biggest fans of this show. (That’s why it’s been on TV for so many seasons!) We were ready. Scripted, sort of. There wouldn’t be more than a few people and we would shine above them all.

We arrived around 10 am on a Wednesday morning in the middle of December, the busiest time of the year. When they began passing out numbers we were number 102…not bad, except we were 102 in the pink group. There was a blue 102…204 teams so far. But the day was young.

After hours of waiting and meeting all sorts of people around us, some that had driven from Austin, Dallas, Lubbock, Arkansas, and Houston, we finally made it to the waiting area with actual chairs. That made me nervous. When it was our turn, I lost my brain. I stuttered, babbled, and didn’t even use my best line… “I’ve traveled the country with my sister, I thought it would be great to see the world with my brother!” I’d practiced it for weeks and then when it was time, I forgot! (Now y’all just think I’m weird! It was a humiliating experience.)

Our amazing adventure had been summed up in a few hours! That was all there was going to be.

By the time we left, there were over 500 teams. I felt very insignificant. In fact, over the Christmas break, I struggled with how big the world is and where is my place and what’s so special about me and why do I try to do anything because there’s somebody who will do it better. I was so worried that I hadn’t “wowed” the producers, I failed to remember I already had the approval of The Producer.

I had forgotten that “Jesus loves me.” He knows my name. He even knows how many hairs are on my head. I’m not just a number in the sea of humanity.

Colossians 3:12 calls those who know Christ,
“God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…”

The world is a big place, but instead of trying to impress some other human, my worth can never be shaken when I find it in The One who has chosen me to live this day, for such a time as this, in my house, and in my community.

If you’re feeling insignificant today, don’t bite into the lie that looms in front of you. Instead, look up and know that He smiles when He thinks of you. He loves you and has an amazing race planned for your life. It starts today, so…On your mark, get set…GO!

Racing with Him...Sharon

“For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting Ready to Go...

Today, we are going shopping to get ready for our California trip next week. We're trying to be budget conscious. Finding clothes that can be sold at a consignment store has been our goal this morning. We'll also find some great deals at our favorite consignment stores...sort of trading the outgrown for "new" things that fit!

I'm finding that it's much easier to have kids who are willing to "clean-out" when they have the adventure of a trip in front of them. While looking for clothes that fit for this fun adventure, we are cleaning out, too. It's much easier to get them moving when there is something to look forward to.

Sometimes our family is a last minute group (I think that's mostly my fault!) But, hopefully this time, we've planned a little better and won't be running around like chickens with our heads cut off at the last minute. (Now there's an interesting conversation to have with your kids...chickens running around...eeeeyoooo!)

We would really appreciate your prayers as we head out. We'll have LOTS of hours in the car from Texas to California. While we are there, we'll have the opportunity to speak to 600+ moms. What an amazing opportunity and incredible responsibility. To God Be The Glory!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

14 Days of Love Undone…Loving Yourself

14 Days of Love was such a great idea! 14 days from the beginning to Valentine’s Day. That was the original plan. Then when I realized I couldn’t possibly get a thoughtful blog in everyday, I decided we could use the whole month of February for 14 days of love…every other day. But, every other day still proved to be a challenge. So now I come to you on the first day of March (though you won’t see this until at least the 2nd because my internet is down) with the last of the 14 –4 Days of Love.

I decided the best way to end this series was to be an example of loving myself. Love yourself today, tomorrow, the month of March, the whole year by giving yourself a break. I’ve been kicking "me" for the past week when I realized that even if I wrote a blog everyday, I still wouldn’t get enough in before the 28th! I felt like a failure!

But, girl to girl, I’m telling you that I just couldn’t get it all done. And admitting it makes me feel much better. Not that I’m a quitter, or even a slacker. I don’t feel that. I do feel like I’ve written what God had for me to share even if that’s not the nice box of 14 that I thought it was going to be.

So, while I’m asking you to let me off the hook, and as I give myself a break, I want to know what you need to be free from. In what areas do you need to love on yourself by giving yourself some slack? What is dragging you down? How are you bound by guilt today?

You certainly don’t have to share, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll feel better after you do.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 Completion might not always appear as I think it should, but that doesn't mean it's not complete. So from the __ Days of Love ... The End.

In we can, we'll be blogging about our trip to California. We leave March 11th. If you'd like to pray for us, let us know and we can give you specifics.

Following Him,

Monday, February 28, 2011

14 Days of Love: Loving on the Grandparents

Grandparents are amazing people. They know how to slow down and enjoy the moments because they've experience first-hand how quickly the time flies.

Knowing that, today's idea offers grandparents a way to enjoy your children again and again (without having to keep them at their house!!) Call them when you know they will be out of the house and have your children leave sweet messages on their answering machine. The grandmas and grandpas will get a kick out of replaying the message as many times as they want.

This is also great for aunts and uncles or special friends. My sister-in-law has recorded (on a cassette tape) the messages my kids have left since they were really small. What a priceless piece of history that will be for us...if we can manage to keep a tape player around!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

14 Days of Love...Skipping What First Comes to Mind

I was reading Parking Lot Rules and 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children by Tom Sturges*. One of the ideas he gave in this practical yet profound book was to Skip the First Things. When your kids (or spouse) does something that seems silly, ignorant or ridiculous, the first things that come to mind might be, "That was dumb!" or "What were you thinking?" or "You shoulda thought that through for at least another 10 years!!"

Last week, I woke up the girls. At least I tried to wake them. About the third time, I was less than patient. I immediately started thinking, "I'm raising lazy children. They are going to get fired from their jobs someday because they oversleep!" (nothing like jumping to conclusions!) With all that emotion running through my mind, at breakfast I spoke in short, enunciated an angry drill sergeant. I was grumpy, therefore, they were grumpy. I was irritated, therefore, they were irritated. I dropped them off to school angry, therefore they started their day angry.

And I heard about it after school. They told me how mean I had been. Mostly they were right.

Rather than saying all those things that popped into my head and allowing one morning (after a late night!) to determine their future careers, I should have skipped the first things that came into my head.

Our influence goes much further when we stop trying to fix, correct, or change. Instead, listen. They will feel much more loved when we skip the first things so we can think before speaking - an area that needs plenty of practice in my life!

"The words of the reckless pierce like swords,but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18


*Pg. 15, Ballantine Books, 2008

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let Them Know You LOVE This Moment - 14 Days of Love

Every situation isn't a "Mom and Loving It!" moment. Sometimes we think, "Mom and loving it?Really? Not right now!" Life can get overwhelming. Our attitudes sometimes go south (nothing against the south!) Circumstances take their toll.

But, there are times that are just "right." Everything in life might not be "right," but the moment is. Yesterday, I picked up the kids and a couple of friends from school. Nothing huge happened - just everybody talking and having a good time in the car. I realized my heart was full...I was living my dream. How fun to have people I love with me enjoying each other. So I told them, "I love this minute!! Y'all are so fun!"

Everybody needs to be needed and enjoyed. I want to build into my kids that I love being with them. Sometimes those things come along and I don't mention anything. But, I was glad I remembered to say something about it yesterday. Hope you have a great moment sometime today!


Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 8 of Fourteen Days of Love: Garbage Guys

Today's Idea:

Love on your garbage guys...

Carrying away our trash is a thankless job, but can you imagine the scene if we didn't have Sanitation Departments?! It would be a much stinkier, much messier world! This week turn trash into treasure when you take out your refuse. Attach a card thanking your garbage workers and include a gift card to Sonic or some other drive-thru. Everybody needs to be appreciated. What a great surprise this will be.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Good Stuff - 14 Days of Love...

Today's idea:

Tell your kids what you LOVE about them. Think about it beforehand so you're really ready. Find a time...bedtime is always share your thoughts with them. It might be that something you've learned from them. Rather than just physical attributes (i.e. you're pretty, you're strong) try to focus on character issues.
  • "I love that you're honest. I really feel like I can trust you."
  • "Because you're humble, you have a way of making people feel comfortable."
  • "You're sister is growing so much because of the way you treat her. Thanks for doing your part to help her become all that God wants her to be."

Why is it much easier to see the negatives in our children instead of the positives? Make an effort today to watch for the "good stuff" then tell them about it. (It wouldn't hurt to look for "the good stuff" in your spouse, too!!)