Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Do We Pray? Part One

Understanding More About Our Conversations With the Lord

I was listening to a radio show the other day and they were discussing reasons Christians pray. New Christians pray because they are taught to and to ask God for things (in many instances, but not always), and often get angry early in their walk because God didn't answer the way they wanted Him to. 
Christians a few years into their relationship with the Lord begin to see that the Lord has only good things in store for them and come to understand that prayers answered in ways other than our ideas or plans are God's way of letting us know He has something better in store.
But Christians long established in their faith and relationship with Jesus feel it is a necessity, almost like checking in with a loved one on a daily basis and often several times a day. That relationship is fostered and grows because the Christian spends time with the Lord getting to know Him, getting to know His plans and the true nature of His heart.

Just as friends who stay in touch over the years can know that they can call on each other in times of need or to just spend the night while traveling, so we can know that God is there when we call on Him. When your friend calls you, even if you have a ringtone specific to her and have her number saved in your Favorites, you know your friend by her voice. So we learn to know the voice of the Father the more we spend "talking" to Him in our prayer time.
One of the reasons we pray is to learn to hear God's voice. It may sound like your own voice, your pastor's voice (that often happens with me!) or it might not sound like any other voice you've heard. But it will become more and more familiar the more time we spend talking and then (this is one I'm currently working on!) LISTENING to His reply and ACTING on what He's said.
His voice might catch you as you're walking out the door: deodorant. I heard it plain as day yesterday before we left for a family drive in the mountains. I looked at the small deodorant tube on my desk and shook it off. I left the deodorant sitting there. When we had been driving for a while, we stopped for a potty break (does anyone travel with kids and NOT stop?!). While in the bathroom, my older daughter commented that she needed deodorant because she had forgotten to put some on in the morning. Had I listened and ACTED on what I heard, I could have pulled that tube out of my purse and she could have used it right then and there. I knew immediately that I had heard and missed my opportunity to act on what He told me.
So what does deodorant have to do with listening to God? Well, just to point out that even in the small things in our lives, He talks to us to remind us He's there, watching out for all areas of our lives. To speak, have us listen, and then act on what He's said.
If you're like me and you feel you missed an opportunity to act on what God has said, don't beat yourself up about it. There will be other things He will tell you and you will be able to listen and act at another time. The more you listen and act, the more familiar His voice will be to you!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Homeschooling Hump Day Encouragement

I know many of you are just beginning your homeschooling journey, but before you realize it, your first child will be approaching graduation! In my most recent blog post with "Managing Your Blessings," I discuss ways to face the period after high school graduation!

Managing Your Blessings

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Let Your Vision Pass You By

Act Now on What the Lord is Calling You to Do

Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine. She told me that a few years back she had had the vision to start writing a blog and to offer curricula for homeschoolers, but she didn't act on it. Now, she feels that the blogging world and homeschooling products have saturated the internet. She feels as though she has missed her opportunity.

Do you feel that way with your dream or vision? Think you should have acted on something and didn't for one reason or another? Well, even if that is true, Jesus still loves you! If you feel that you are still being called in that direction, what is keeping you from going after your goal?
Start today to do one thing that will move you closer and closer even if you think you may have missed the boat! The calling the Lord put on your life isn't likely to go away. He called you to do a specific thing for a specific reason that only YOU can fulfill! 
So what is holding you back? What are you afraid of? Take a step of faith and see what the Lord will do for you!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Decluttering your life...

Visit: for more information!
Recently I was listening to Terri Savelle Foy talking about decluttering our homes and our lives.
I began thinking about how I've "cleaned up" my friends list on Facebook and my followers on Twitter, too. I began to think of how all this makes my life more organized, more empowered, and more encouraged. So why not carry that all into my home and my spiritual life as well?!

She said to make a list of those areas in our homes that need some serious tending to. Next, she said to go into each of those rooms or areas and list all the things we need to do to them to get them fixed up. For example, in the master bedroom you might list clean cobwebs out of the corners, dust the dresser, throw trash away, organize mail (or toss it out!), vacuum the floors, wipe the windows with window cleaner, etc.
 Next, you move into the kitchen and list all those things: load/unload the dishwasher, wipe off counters, sweep and mop the floor, wipe down the stove, clean out the science experiments growing in old bowls of the leftovers in the refrigerator, throw out outdated products sitting in the refrigerator, etc. You get the idea. But you only list the steps to be done...for now! Then you set a date to begin. Terri suggests starting NOW! Set a timer for 20 minutes and clean as much as you can; you'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish!!!

 Then watch happens in your life. You'll notice that as you get your physical house in order, your spiritual house begins to come together as well. As you feel led, begin listing those areas of your life that need to be cleaned up. List the relationships, the attitudes, the rebellious things that need to be changed and begin to watch as those things start being molded and shaped into new, refreshed and restored areas of your life.

 As a reminder, Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision clearly, so that in your passing throughout the day, you can read it!" Writing these things down will position you for success in decluttering your home as well as your spiritual home.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This week for homeschool encouragement, I thought I would share a post from a few years ago.

     One of my favorite scriptures is "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).  This is an area where I have needed to be reminded that my husband and I brought our children up to serve the Lord, to walk with him and to rely on HIS will over their own.

     When we have witnessed some of our children walking a road that is not reflective of their upbringing, my husband and I are saddened and sometime we have even wept at the thought that they have turned from the Lord.  The Word says, "Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight.  He's like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows."  (Jeremiah 17:5 MSG).  
     The reality is that we can only last so long on our own without God.  As parents, the time we have been given for teaching and training our children is but a drop in the bucket of their lives.  Although we are heart broken over our lost children, we also rest in the Word reminding us that when our children grow older the Word of the Lord will come back to them and that our whole house will be saved.
      So when it feels like your young children are intentionally disobeying or your older children are rebelling, remember the promise the Lord has given about training our children.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Life Hacks for Women

Those who know me know that if I can find an easier way of doing things, I'm going to do it!
Today I want to share a few "life hacks" with you. These are common, everyday items that can be used in other ways to make your day just a little bit easier!
  1. Use a hair straightener to iron the collars of button down shirts and the hems of shirts. 
  2. When travelling, pack your shoes in a shower cap or thick socks to protect them.
  3. Soak nail polish bottles in hot water to loosen the seal of hard-to-open bottles. 
  4. Add style to plain bobby pins by painting them with nail polish. 
  5. Add ribbon, beads or glitter to plain flip flops for a new summer look.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Monday, June 16, 2014

Interview with Rudy Rasmus Author of "Love.Period."

Recently, Rudy Rasmus finished his book Love.Period. In this interview, readers get a glimpse of the mystery behind the book. Be sure to read my review of Rudy's book on July 7th!!

     You believe that loving without condition means loving regardless of race, class, gender, orientation, or past deeds. How would you respond to someone who says he can’t love someone who he believes is making sinful lifestyle choices?
Sinful is a big word with many implications and interpretations based on the cultural context. I define sin as “anything that separates a person from their creator and prohibits that person from fulfilling their God ordained purpose.” With this definition in mind, to determine another person’s  “sinful lifestyle choice” is a subjective experience based on how the person interprets the word “sin.”
To begin with, I carefully separate a person’s race, class, gender, or orientation from a person’s conscious deeds which are more connected to a person’s character defined by the way a person thinks, feels or responds. The task of every person in the human family is to respect “the other’s” place in the world rather than assuming agreement is necessary for love to be present.

      How have you seen love break down walls of classism, sexism, and racism in your own city of Houston?
Achieving racial equality has been a long journey in Houston and the rest of the American South. I drank from a separate water fountain until I was 11 years old in Houston but today it is one of the most diverse cities in the United States.
If the mandate of love is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” then Houston is proving everyday that it is a place where people of every class, station, or orientation have a place to call home. This is a reminder that love ultimately accomplishes what legislation can’t. 

      You write that there is a big difference between loving our neighbor as ourselves and loving the neighborhood. What do you mean by that?
I don’t believe you can truly extend love to broader cultural context before you can perfect loving the person in front of you at this very moment. If I want to know how you interpret love, I can look for your fruit as a determinant. The love Jesus talked about is not preferential love based on a pre-existing qualification process, but its love in the same way that God loves us and out of this love we are to love “the neighbor.”  I am making the assumption “the neighbor” is a sociological parameter and not a geographic determination makes everyone on the planet our neighbor whether we like, agree, or approve of their life expression or not.  The greatest commandment was to love God (through sacrifice), love others (through service), and to love self (through self-respect). 

     What is the connection between vulnerability and love?
Madeleine L’Engle once wrote, “When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
The major obstacle in today’s world prohibiting the sharing of love is scarcity, inadequacy, and insecurity. In other words, not feeling as though I have enough; not feeling I can do enough; and not feeling I am enough. There is a proverb that goes, “The person who doesn’t know what enough is, will never have enough.” Scarcity is rampant in shame-prone, materialistic, competitive societies, which are overly focused on lack.
Love requires a generous heart, free of fear, and a willingness to be vulnerable.
In Love. Period. I wrote,  “Love liberates us so we can walk fully in the truth of God’s love, and reach out to others with great vulnerability, in order to engage others in a relationship that brings honor to God.”

       We hear a lot about being an “entitlement nation.” How do you see that displayed in our society today?
The term “narcissism” finds its origins in Greek Mythology where Narcissus is remembered for having fallen in love with his own reflection. And since he could not obtain the object of his love, he died of sorrow by the same pool. I’m not implying our society has fatally fallen in love with its own image, but could that we have become so consumed with our own reflection, that we have possibly missed seeing the needs of the world around us? At the end of the day, “Love is as love does.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

To All The Moms...Guest Post by Kerri Pomarolli

To All the Moms….

To all the moms out there that wrap their three year olds in baby blankets because you know it's your last child this is for you. 

 I get it now. We spend so much effort pushing our first borns to walk and talk and do algebra before pre school that by the time the second one comes along we 're exhausted from trying to get our first child into Harvard early admission by age 6. I never understood what the big deal was because in true fashion I gave birth to a "gifted" over achieving first born child who now at age 6 is completely convinced she has no need for me. When she was 9 months she insisted she didn't need to breast feed anymore. And just recently she informed us that she's going to live with her grandparents or go to New York City. Of course it was with great thrill we watched her hit every milestone early as I happily reported each effort to everyone on social media. And when she was 2, I decided I'd like to give birth next time to a child that would "need me." Lucy has tired of me by age two and decided daddy was the one who could get things done around here when it came to getting her way. She decided to concentrate her womanly powers on wooing her daddy to her side and then achieving her goal of world domination( well at least in my house). So of course we got pregnant and along came her sister "the good one" as we jokingly referred to her..Ruby Joy.
Lucy, who's name means bringer of Light and we do mean that in a super hero kind of way, now had to make room for God's precious jewel, Ruby Joy.
And things were different from the very start. Ruby is a different personality, and I love it. Whereas Lucy will look at a slide and think it will help her fly, Ruby will get up on the top and spend 10 minutes figuring out if this way down is too scary or not. Ruby didnt like merry-go-round horses; she chose to sit with mommy. Ruby is cautious and careful, and Lucy is carefree and crazy. Um, did I say that out loud? You get the picture.

Ive actually lavished in having a child who needs me. Its never been a burden as she reaches for my leg in a crowded store or still asks me to help her peel a banana. Shes 3 now and its going too fast. I came in to check on her sleeping tonight and noticed her whole body is getting longer. I didnt see this coming it just snuck up on me. I wrapped her in a baby blanket and took her over to the rocking chair. These days my best cuddles are while shes sleeping. I rocked her and told her very softly, “My darling little Ruby Joy, you are not allowed to get any bigger or older for mommy is fearful you will need her less. Do you hear me? I’m not allowing it. You must always be able to fit in my lap right here on this chair.” Just at that moment my fearless flying 6 year old woke up and saw me singing to  her sister. She sleepily climbed up in my arms and said, “rock me mama!” I realized there is still a part of Lucy that will always  be my baby. And as long as it’s remotely possible I will rock her in my arms any night of the week. I wonder if my mom feels that way about me and Im 40?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This summer is going to fly by! But, homeschooling momma, you are still teaching your children some very valuable lessons: life lessons and character building! Whether you school year round or take the full summer off, remember that your children are looking up to you and watching you, your character, your daily habits like devotional time with the Lord, and your reactions to surprises like an unexpected bill or a diaper that leaked!

Momma, this is the time for you to sew into your children's lives patience, praises, self-control, your love of the Lord and many more things. Don't underestimate your ability to teach your children things that aren't academic. You're teaching them far more than that, and in the long run of your homeschooling journey, your children will remember these important things you've taught them.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Organization is KEY!

As you are probably aware by now, I am recuperating from foot surgery at this point. But, to get to this point where I felt that I could fully sit back and focus solely on recovery, I had to organize myself...and my household! 
Now as homeschoolers, we take the entire month of June off of school. So school work did not have to be planned during this time. I did, however, have to plan my own assignments to ensure they were completed prior to their due dates, especially not knowing when I would be feeling up to working on that this past weekend.

I also sent emails ahead of schedule, arranged my substitute on the overhead team at church, and planned some basic meals for the family at least for the next week.
Now, I will admit it, I AM an overachiever, overplanner, and over-organizer! If you aren't, don't worry! The fact that you're reading this and thinking, "I don't know if I could plan like," probably means you would do some sort of planning. This week's TIP TUESDAY is simply to encourage you to take a step back and look at things you have coming up that you can plan ahead for. Maybe you are going to a family reunion. Plan the food you will need and what you will need to do to you home while you are out of town. Maybe you're going to have a planned surgery. Think about those things you can do for your family, your home and work commitments that you can take care of ahead of time. Things will be easier to get back into when you don't go back at it playing catch up!

Enjoy the guests posts by Kerri Pomarolli!!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Crazy, Sexy Marriage

Ok did you all just do a double take? I know you don’t read many articles with those words in the title right? Remember when we were single? I was  little miss Abstinence so I was always telling my married friends. When I get married” It’s gonna be a party in my  house every night! Woo Woo! Yeah girl!”And my married friends would just nod their heads silently and say “Yep….um…sure.” I never understood what the issue was and why they would laugh. Finally one of them pulled me aside and said. Let me let you in on a little secret. When you get “married” Sometimes “Biggest Loser or DownTon Abbey is on and you…gotta make a choice!” Well 9 years into marriage …now I get it!
So what am I saying? Marriage lost all it’s sex appeal day one? No way! My wedding night was hot and steamy. I remember putting on my beautiful silk white neglege and waiting for my prince to emerge from the bathroom in whatever hot outfit he had brought. Instead my husband rolled out in green and yellow plaid sweat pants and a rubber ducky t-shirt that said Don’t Worry Be Happy! And that’s exactly what we did! Well most of the time anyway. We have a single girl living with us and we joke that living with us and our two loud fire ball children is great abstinence enforcement.
So , Sara was asking about being married yesterday and is it sexy? What am I gonna tell her? The truth that  a hot night at my house is “Parenthood”on NBC on the couch talking about the Braverman’s like their real people ? Or that my husband’s snoring has caused  many a talk of murder( not divorce) from the hours of 1 -5:00am? Yes it seems at times we’ve lost our mo jo and we’re an”old married couple.” But we’re not out of the game completely. We’re not dead!
I realize that sexy is an evolution. You know how you can look at an older movie star and say “He’s still sexy” Robert Redford. When my mom saw the movie Indecent Proposal. I think her exact quote was” I would have gone on his Yacht  for free!” Go Barb!
But for me I found my husband Ron insanely funny the minute we met and I saw him perform. He was doing stand up and absolutely killed it. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands and yes, it was sexy. I also found it sexy when he brought dough nuts on the airplane about a year later and over a box of Krispy Cremes somewhere over Ohio I fell in love. I won’t bore you with “love stories” here because we’re all about the sexy right? But seriously, how do I explain marriage to someone who hasn’t been there?
It’s almost 9 years later and I ‘d like to recount some of my husband’s most sexy moments.
1.       When he did the Dance from the movie Dirty Dancing at our wedding better than Patrick Swayze even though he threw his back out in rehearsal.
2.       When I forgot my car keys at my friend’s house at 11:00pm and Ron drove all the way back to her house to retrieve them for me even though he had been sleeping.
3.       When he cleaned out the freezer without being asked and on my birthday always takes me on outtings like the time he took me to this famous Museum called the Getty. He knows I’m not into fancy culture but he knew the food their was delicious so we ate and left! He speaks my love language!
4.       When he wore matching Pink Footy Pajama’s for our Christmas Card and to Ruby’s school pajama party without missing a beat.
5.       When he fully choreographed a dance number to the theme song from Disney’s Frozen to sing and perform with my 6 year old for her upcoming school assembly.
6.       For my anniversary he wrote me individual notes for each song he was about to Kareoke to me in his car. He serenaded me to “The Wind Beneath My Wings” with full abandon. I laughed. I cried. It was better than CATS.

My husband Ron is sexy! He is confident and funny. Ron always said” Funny Guys Get Chicks!”

 So I hope in some way this has been helpful for those of you that are married or single reading this.If you’re married. Why don’t you take the challenge and write down your spouse’s sexiest moments? You might surprise yourself and  then be bold and share it. It could be the start of something really…hot!I’m just sayin! Maybe he’ll figure out all those times he did the dishes how attractive that made him to you. You know what they say…”Sex starts in the kitchen!”

Friday, June 6, 2014

Guests Posts!

Next week we have a special guest blogger: Kerri Pomarolli!! Since I will be down from having surgery, my dear friend has generously written two blog posts just for you! I'm excited for you to read what Kerri has to share, and I know you will be touched by her practical mix of reali-life and comedy.
Don't miss next week featuring Kerri Pomarolli, author of Mom's Night Out and Other Things I Miss!!

Keep me in your prayers as I begin my recovery. It's minor foot surgery, but I'll be on crutches for up to 3 weeks. No driving (UGH!). No going up and down stairs (Ugh again!). And crutches just to go to the bathroom! (Hope I can make it in time!).

Thank you for praying for me!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Illusion of One Super Mom!

This post was originally written in 2011 when I first began writing my blog. In many ways, I have grown and changed as a mom and homeschooler. But in other ways, things have stayed the same. This post is for today just as much as it was for me 3 years ago.

Simply put, I'm the super mom ILLUSION!  I'm not better than another mom; I can't produce things with any greater ease than another mom; I don't remember everything all the time (contrary to what my family believes!) and sometimes, life gets in the way of MY plans.  It is all an illusion that I can pull off so many things: work, homeschooling, my own schooling, running my household, keeping my children in line, etc.  There are many workers and assistants in my day such as my husband and my older children, who help make my job easier.  Just as a church is not run solely by the pastor or a corporation is run by just the president, so my household is not run by this mom alone!  Because I work at night, it has been a great blessing to see my husband and oldest son and daughter making the meals for the family.  Some may argue that as the mother and wife this is my job.  But I would pose this question:  Isn't the end result teaching my kids to serve others even beginning at home?  If they serve their siblings, how much more will they know how to serve others in the world?  And how much more willing to be a servant of the Lord?  This is preparing them for servitude and is a great character trait to possess.

Galatians 5:13 says, "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."  As a homeschooling mom, this is just one more lesson my children are being taught and it is a practical life-lesson that will shape who they are in the Lord.  So while I am not the "Super Mom" many think I am because of the number of children my husband and I have or that we homeschool, I always keep straight the fact that this is not a solo act and there are MANY performers helping to pull off the production of our family!!    


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Today, I want to encourage you with just two Scriptures. These are the two that will sustain you as you begin or continue on your homeschooling journey:

These are printable, too, so you can put them up in your schoolroom!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Decluttering Magazines

I don't know how or when it happened, but somehow we ended up with a lot of magazines over the past few months. Some have wonderful articles that I want to keep. Some have a particular design I like. So how do you keep the things you want without keeping so many bulky magazines around? I'm glad you asked!

Almost everyone has a printer these days. Take a copy of the page or pages you want to keep and put them in a notebook. Now you have all those designs you like in one handy place. You can donate the magazines to your local library, too. It's a great way to spread the word about organizations you enjoy and pass on some info packed magazines to others. And if you're like me and have some ministry magazines to give, think of the ministry opportunity that will be for those who pick up that magazine!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Feeling Restless? Find Out WHY?

About seven years ago, I had this feeling that I could or should be doing something more than what I was doing. It was like a sense of urgency overwhelming me. That restlessness prompted me to pursue going to college for my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. I thoroughly enjoyed the classes and going on the ambulance calls as I went through my clinicals. But I still felt unfulfilled. I was still restless. A year later, I broke my big toe at the foot and was forced to stop working as a lab technician at our local clinic. So I decided to ask God what it was He would have me do. I felt His gentle nudging to get back to the dreams of my youth; my dream of writing. Now I still have those restless pangs, but it is for my characters in my books and what they are going through, and I know that I am fulfilling the call God has put on my life.
If you are feeling restless, I have good news for you. It's normal! We strive for those things that God has for us and we can only fulfill them once we truly know and have found what He has called us to do in life and for the Kingdom. In Her book Restless, Jennie Allen uses the story of Joseph to show threads in his suffering, gifts, relationships and his story and how they fit into the greater story of God. By identifying threads in your life, you can also identify your gifts and how they ultimately fit into the overall plan God has for your life. If you can't come up with commanalities throughout your life, just ask the Lord to reveal that to you, and He will show you!

That restless feeling? It's a part of becoming who God designed you to be!!