A Terrific Idea for Your Holiday Shopping!

A Terrific Idea for Your Holiday Shopping!

This month Young Living has the most amazing promotion and I have been thinking about how to make the best of it.  They have a promo every month which includes free products when you purchase a certain amount.  It starts at 190 PV (1 PV is generally equal to $1) and goes up to 300 PV.

Basically if you spend from $190-$300 you get free stuff.

For October, if you spend 300 you get….. it’s amazing…. a 5ml bottle of clove, 20 Essential Rewards points (which is like credit to buy whatever you want explained HERE by my friend Emily) and a home diffuser!  AND if you place the order through your ER you also get a free 15ml bottle of Thieves!  I am not kidding!!

OK, so $300 is a lot to spend.  I decided to use it to do some of my Christmas shopping and then I could have that all done, have unique gifts AND get the free diffuser and other amazingness.  I put together a list of ideas for gifts for teachers, friends and anyone else you buy for.  I am always looking for something unique to give those people who I need a small token of thanks for being a blessing to us during the year.

10 Unique gifts for under $11!
These 10 items are under $10 each, which makes them great for teachers, mailmen, hairstylist, etc.  Or put a couple of them together to make a bigger gift.  Keep in mind these are based on the wholesale prices and you have to be a member of Young Living to get this price…. (also none of this includes shipping or tax)

  1. Lip Balm – $4.25 each
  2. Thieves Hand Sanitizer – $4.58 each if you buy the 3 pack
  3. 2 Wolfberry Bars – $5.58 per 2 when you buy a pack (what a yummy surprise treat!)
  4. NingXia Red + Ningxia Nitro – $5.79 per set
    This set is made up of one individual travel pack of NingXia Red and one tube of Nitro, making a wonderful boost for the recipient!  You would end up with 28 gifts if you bought the packs….more on that below.
  5. Thieves Spray – $7.92 each if you buy the 3 pack
  6. 2 Oz Thieves toothpaste + Thieves floss – $8.31 each when you buy the sets (it would be cute to add a toothbrush with it)
  7. Thieves or Lavender Foaming Hand Soap – $10.50 each when you buy the 3 pack
  8. Spearmint (5ml) – $10.75 (hooray for essential oils that are under $11!)
  9. Jade lemon (5ml) -$10.75 (this has become one of my new favorites!)
  10. Orange (15ml) – $10.75 (what a deal!)

That’s a lot of options for those people you want to bless but can’t spend a lot on them.

This next list is for the people you want to spend a little more on.  A dozen gift ideas from Young Living that cost between $11-$25 (again, wholesale prices).  I just chose 12, but there are plenty more to choose from.


  1. Lemongrass – $11.25
  2. Cedarwood – $11.25 (this is a common one that people want to get after they get their Premium Starter Kit)
  3. Lime – $12.25 (I carry it with me all the time)
  4. Lavaderm – $13.75 (this is a great family gift)
  5. Wintergreen – $17.75
  6. Envision – $18.75 (this is commonly used as a substitute for the beloved out of stock Valor)
  7. Gentle Baby – $21.25 (not just for babies!!!)
  8. Peppermint – $21.50 (we go through this so quickly that a replacement bottle would be a blessing to anyone, even if they already use YL oils)
  9. V-6 – $21.75 (this would be a fantastic gift for your YL friend, it lasts forever and they will love you for it)
  10. Rose Ointment – $22 (I bought this on a whim and have fallen in love with it, you might want to get some for yourself while you’re at it)
  11. Family – $22.75 (yes, this is an oil blend that is great for moms who need support in raising their family)
  12. Peace & Calming – $24.25 (back in stock…..don’t miss it!)

Now, here’s my idea for you….spend most of the 300 on your Christmas list.  You will have the best gifts and it will be all done in October!  Here’s just one example that I put together for you, but of course it’s fun to play around and get exactly what you want!


To spend 300: 1 box of 30 Ninxia Red samples ($84.50), 2 boxes of NingXia Nitro ($38.75 each), V-6 ($21.75), Peppermint ($21.50), Peace & Calming ($24.25) and I added the gorgeous rollon set that is in the current holiday catalog (above) which has 3 rollons (StressAway, Breathe Again and Deep Relief).  Keep them or split it up for more gift ideas (but I’d go with keep them…these 3 are some that you want to have around).

That is a grand total of $302.75 plus shipping and tax.  And in addition to all of the things I mentioned you will get a free bottle of clove, 20 ER points, a diffuser and (if you order on ER) a bottle of Thieves!  Oh. My. Word.

By breaking up the Ninxia sets and putting one NingXia Red sample and one Nitro together you will have 28 small gifts.  Add those to the 8 medium gifts PLUS the diffuser and you are set for those extra gifts you have to buy this year! Keep the diffuser or give to someone that you want to bless with a $63.75 gift!  That’s not even including the extra ER point and the regular ER points you will get equaling up to 60 more points!  That’s 80 more dollars of credit, yo!  Buy yourself something nice.

Thirty-seven gifts for three hundred dollars and that’s not including the free points!!!  Teachers gifts.  Done!  Secret sister.  Check!  Stocking stuffers.  Yep!

Of there’s always the option to stock up on your favorites, keep it all for yourself and have them on hand when you want them.  :)

If you haven’t yet joined Young Living, now is the time.  Start HERE and get your Premium Starter Kit! And if all that free stuff from Young Living isn’t enough, I am sending my new members who order the Premium Starter Kit a handmade essential oil shelf to store your oils, some empty roller bottles and few other goodies!

Let me know if you have any questions.  I’m always available over on Facebook for more discussion.

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Fun at Convention!

Fun at Convention!

This week I am at the Young Living International Grand Convention.  I’ve got some of my kids with me and we are having a grand time!  I can’t wait to fill you in on all of the newest products and exciting happenings.  It’s like a lifestyle boost, information overload and reunion all rolled into one.

One of the things that I did to let my team members that came to convention know how glad I am that they are here was make them each a “Convention Survival Pack”.  I thought I’d share so you can get ideas if you’re ever working with a team of amazing people like I am!

My goal was to give them some things to make their week a little brighter and easier.  This event has 6,000 people in attendance so it’s not exactly leisurely.  Long lines are everywhere….at the food counters, the drink stations, every vendor….wowsa.

Instead of filling each bag before we left, I put everything in a box  and waited until we got into our hotel room.  Then I put them together.  I printed out their names and stapled them onto each bag before we left (otherwise my forgetful brain wouldn’t know who I had already given a bag to!).


I wrote notes of encouragement with a few helpful bits of information, rolled them up and slipped them into a tube that our oils come in when they’re shipped.  I thought that would be a fun way to get a note.  I tied a jute bow around each one.


Here’s a what I put in each bag:

Tic Tacs
Water bottle
My favorite pen
Chocolate (duh!)
Protein bar (not pictured)
Tide stain pen
Goldfish crackers
Ziploc bags (they come in handy!)
NingXia Red
NingXia Nitro
A Chick-fil-A gift card (I wanted to buy them a meal)
My favorite travel helper (Levi calls it my “potion”)

The “potion” is just coconut oil and a few drops of frankincense that I mixed together and put in these tiny tubs.  I added a little card to show how I use it.


I hope they feel the love when they use the stuff I gave them!  I adore these people!!!

And you can come be a part of my team too….I’d sure love to have you.  We are super supportive and helpful.  Even if you’re just using the oils for yourself and not doing it as a business you’ll get plenty of support.

This month I am sending one of my handmade essential oil shelves to each new member who joins with a Premium Kit.  It’s a great way to start your journey with essential oils and better health.  You get 11 oils and a diffuser and I send you the shelf plus some extra goodies!


Let me know if you have any questions!


Come with Us to the Forge Conference!

Come with Us to the Forge Conference!

What are you and your family up to September 10-12, 2015?!

‘Cuz if you’re not busy, I hope you will come join us at the Forge Conference!  This event is for the entire family!  It’s a beautiful, loving gathering of like-minded people who want to learn to be better parents, leaders and this year’s theme….how to love one another!

Really, you will adore this group of people.  This will be our third year to attend and I wouldn’t miss it.  The keynotes are Kevin Swanson, Scott Brown and RC Sproul Jr.  This is a powerhouse lineup that the men in your family will especially be uplifted by.

Its really affordable too….check out their website for more info.

Come to this fantastic conference in September for families who want to lean more about how to love one another!

AND….drumroll….I am going to host a luncheon during the conference just for the ladies.  I am super excited about this!!!  I will share from my new book, “Mama Needs a Do-Over” and we will have fun prizes and food and of course, chocolate!  It will be a time of encouragement and fellowship.

An encouraging ladies' luncheon that will leave you uplifted!

This event is for adult women only (and nursing babies).  The cost is $10 which includes all of your food and fun.

Click HERE to learn how to sign up!!!!

If you have questions about Forge head over to their Facebook page and ask.  They are very helpful.

Here’s a way to make it even easier…..I get to give away a family registration!  I am so thrilled to do this and I hope you win!  I am also giving away one seat at my lunch so you have TWO chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do You Struggle in a New Group?

Do You Struggle in a New Group?

Great tips for those times you find yourself in a new group of people.  perfect for back to school!

So for the past few months we have been visiting a new church.  Also, I attend a lot of conferences and events where I don’t know anyone.  This is not easy for us introverts.  We have a very hard time starting up conversations and approaching people…even people we know.

I have gotten better at it with practice, but these situations can still feel like a bad dream.  You know the ones….where you’re naked and no one notices.  That pretty much sums up how I feel when I am in a crowd, no matter what size it is I feel exposed and a little uncomfortable.

And it can be even harder when you feel like no one wants to talk to you.  I had one conference experience that was just awful (you can read about it HERE) and my good friend Connie talks HERE about her similar experience (and she is an extreme extrovert y’all!).

I have developed a few tricks to help myself get through when I am overwhelmed in a group of people.  But first I want to share some things we can all do to help the introverts of the world feel more comfortable.

If you are established in a group, like church or a women’s group, look around for loners.  If someone is sitting alone go over and say hello to them.  Make it your goal to show them that you are really glad they are there.  Step out of your own comfort zone and tell them hello!

Once you have done that….follow up.  Send them a friend request on Facebook or ask for their email so you can send them a note during the week.  Knowing someone is thinking of you goes a long way toward feeling loved.

And here are some tips for the introverts reading this….

1. Remember that more than half the people in the world are introverts, so it’s not easy for them either!  Maybe the people you are wanting to meet are even more uncomfortable than you are when it comes to approaching others.

2. Try talking to ONE person.  I know it’s hard, but when I make it my goal to talk to only one new person then I can treat it like a checklist and just do it.  Even if the person I choose isn’t receptive, I did my part.

3. They don’t know you are an introvert!  Why not try to pretend you are comfortable with stepping up and talking to new people?  I have done this many times and I promise, it’s not as hard as I expect.

4. Smile.  Make eye contact.  This will let people know that you are approachable.  I wonder if sometimes I send the unintentional message through my body language that I am not interested in being approached.

5. Don’t blame others.  Even though it would be super nice if they would come talk to you, it’s not really their fault that you haven’t met them.  You, despite being slightly terrified, are capable of going up and introducing yourself.

6. Pray before you go.  Every time I am on my way to a meeting or conference where I will be around a lot of new people, I spend a time praying for courage and praising the Lord.  I do that because it always helps me to remember that no matter what anyone else thinks I am loved beyond my wildest imagination and He values me!!!

7. Forgive them.  Let’s face it, people will be rude sometimes and can seem like they don’t care about you.  If you’re in a new situation that is probably not even the case…they are more likely either shy or oblivious.  But it can still hurt your feelings and it’s so important to forgive them!  In the words of Elsa, let it go!

Last month when I was at a Young Living retreat, a friend sent me a message that her friend was there too and was having trouble meeting people.  Boy did I understand that!  So despite not being very outgoing, I sent the gal a FB message and told her I was hoping to meet her and where I was at the moment.  We met and she was delightful!  After that, because I didn’t want her to feel alone again, I continued to message her my location so she would know that if she needed a friend I wanted her to know where I was.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us did that for one person?!  We just might change the world!

As for our new church, we are still working on getting to know people.  It isn’t easy.  The people there seem to be really kind to one another and loving and I enjoy “people watching” as we sit in our spot.  But so far we really have not been approached or had anyone try to make much of a connection with us.  It could be tempting to think “Forget it.  I’ll go somewhere else!”  But I have to admit if I am being honest that I really haven’t tried as hard as I could.  Maybe the current members there should do the reaching out, but they don’t, so I may have to do more of it for myself.  And if we do land there and decide to join then I could decide to make a change and start treating newcomers the way I would have liked to have been treated.  (honestly, I mean no disrespect to the church we are visiting and we really do like it there…..I only say this to show how hard it is for everyone everywhere!)

Let’s work together to make other people feel welcome and wanted!

Do you struggle when you are in a group?  Do you have any tips that help you get past that?  Or what do you do to make other people feel wanted?

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

Planes, Buses and Friends

Planes, Buses and Friends

I have been home from Utah for 2 days now and I am still worn out from it all!

I left the house at 4am on Thursday morning to catch my flight.  I have gotten pretty good at flying over the past few years with all of my traveling.  I have some Bose Noise Cancelling headphones that drown out all of the airplane noise and I always have an audiobook ready to go and I have a mellow playlist for when I am ready to fall asleep (think ocean waves and harps).

I get into my seat, put my Travel Pillow behind my neck and my headset on and fall right to sleep….often before we even get off the runway.  And of course, my essential oils are a great help!  StressAway at the beginning of the flight/peppermint at the end and I am in good shape.

Once I landed it was go-go-go for three days.  I got to tour the Young Living farm and see how the distillation happens (that was my favorite part!).  I met so many amazing people and asked a zillion questions.  I love hearing people’s stories and how they have made their Young Living business work for them.

Plus I got a hotel room to myself, which if I am being totally honest, may have been some of my favorite moments.  At the end of each day I literally just laid there in the quiet and did nothing, thought nothing, planned nothing, learned nothing.  I turned my mind completely off.  It’s unlikely that I will have that again for years, so I soaked in every bit of it.

Most of the time I hung out with these two gorgeous ladies…

Two of my favorite people!

That picture was taken while we were having lunch at the corporate offices.  We were trying to be professional.  But most of our pictures looked like this…

Two of my favorite people!

We spent hours being transported around on buses so we entertained ourselves by trying to take selfies and telling stories.  I laughed so much my sides were sore at the end of each day.  They made my trip a million times better than I expected!!!!

On Sunday I flew home and went straight to church for a time of prayer for our country.  Even though I was tired from traveling, I didn’t want to miss that after what’s been happening for the past week.  It was the perfect ending to a long weekend.

On Monday morning I started my clean eating challenge and it’s going OK so far.  I am getting my head around doing the 5 day cleanse next week, so this week I am just sticking to fresh veggies and protein.  It’s not too late to join me if you want to clean up your diet and take back your health!

Thankfully I have a couple of quiet-ish weeks ahead before the travel picks up again.  I plan to swim with my kids, nap then hang with my kids some more.

Have a wonderful week!

(If you are interested in knowing more about Young Living leave me a comment and I will send you some info!)

Why Ya Gotta Hate?!

Why Ya Gotta Hate?!

I generally prefer to be light and fun here, but I felt led to share this, so here goes.

I’ve been thinking lately about HATE.

I’ve been the recipient of a lot of that over the past few months and it does cause me to wonder.  I mean, what’s the point of spreading hate?

I want to say first….that for as much hate mail and vile comments that I receive, I get 50x more loving, caring, generous messages.  Many of you have blessed my socks off and been incredibly supportive!  I can’t tell you how much it means when someone lets you know that they care about you.  And not everyone who sends me these messages agrees with my beliefs, but they want to be a part of the healing anyway.  Your kindness overflows!

With the recent Duggar news story, the assaults on their family and watching people spew hate at them….it makes me wonder again why people think it’s OK to attack someone else.  It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.  Spreading hate and stirring up people’s lives doesn’t help anyone (including those doing the hating).  It only serves to do further damage to an already painful situation.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

In my family’s case, we have been lied about, called unimaginable names and been threatened repeatedly.  If I weren’t in the center of it, I would have found it fascinating how social media misinformation instantly becomes truth in people’s minds.  How does that happen?   Have we forgotten that that there is more than one side in every situation?!  And why don’t we realize that we don’t know the details and can’t possibly know what people’s motives are?!  Does it not occur to us that some of the loudest voices have personal agendas?  Have we lost all sense of caring and concern for anyone who is different than us?

I spent one afternoon last week clearing abusive comments off of my various social media channels and when I was finished I thought, “Ugh, I need to go scrub my brain from seeing all of those foul messages.”  And in a flash I remembered….I have a way to do that!  I grabbed my Bible and headed to the front porch where I rocked in my chair, soaked in the afternoon sunshine and read God’s message of forgiveness and grace and joy.  That did the trick!

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Why is it that if someone disagrees with us, we have to hate them and try to hurt them?  I do not understand the need to harm to come to someone just because I don’t like their choices.  I do not understand why we have to assume the worst about other people.

Well, actually, I do understand it.  It’s called sin.  Yes, we ALL sin.  Me, you, the guy next door that you can’t stand, the pastor who you expect to be perfect, your doctor, your kids, my kids, policemen, movie stars, sports heroes, everyone!!!!  Our sinful nature wants to prove how bad someone else is to make ourselves feel better.  So we attack them when we should be lifting them up and showing them grace.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

We have to stop being guided by our own feelings and ideas and personal pain to see the bigger picture!

I’m not saying we should be silent.  Yes, take a stand on something you believe in!  Yes, speak up if you think it will contribute to a solution.  Absolutely be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves (like the 1.2 million babies murdered in the U.S. every year!).

But speaking out doesn’t have to include attacks, assaults, vulgarity, insults, hatred.  It doesn’t have to shame the other person or mock their choices.  It is possible to disagree with someone and feel compelled to speak out about an issue without making them feel like they need to sleep with one eye open.  Do we need to decimate someone’s character to make our point?  Or can we voice our position in love, with humility and honor toward everyone involved?

If the only way to prove your point is to destroy another person, then your point has no validity.  Your message should be able to stand on its own strength without causing harm to anyone else.  If it can’t, then you are wrong.

Some thoughts on how hate is affecting our world and what we cen do about it personally.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26

What if, the next time we feel compelled to comment or speak against another person….even if we think what they stand for is criminal or abusive….we stop and consider that maybe we aren’t fully informed?  What if we thought about how it would affect us if we were being treated that way?  What if we tried to be a part of the solution instead of adding to the problem?  What if we thought of them as a human being with value instead of a meaningless enemy?

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

I know there are deep issues out there.  Healing, lots of healing, needs to take place in anyone’s life.  Shouldn’t that be our goal?  To find a place of health and peace and community?

If I don’t like what someone else is doing, I have to ask myself, “Am I actually going to help them to change by assaulting them?”  Or could I make a real difference by being encouraging, loving, and understanding while still voicing my objections to their choices?

I can tell you from experience, I have never responded to one of the hateful comments toward me by thinking, “You know they’re right?  I am a crazy $&%@#!….I should change that.”  Instead it pushes me further and further away from the commenters and their message until eventually the chasm between us becomes so wide that it is nearly (but not hopelessly) impossible to reach each other.

But occasionally someone sends me a message of hopeful correction, encouraging me to read some verses that might point me away from my current choices.  Then I actually DO consider their message.  I have a lot to learn and want to grow!  I want to learn from others, be corrected, held accountable, listen to wisdom.  I hope some people will care enough to lovingly tell me when I am wrong.  In fact I want that!  When it is done in love and with a genuine heart to help me – it is amazing!

It is possible to voice your beliefs without harming others!


And before you think, well I never curse or say hateful things, I’m still talking to you.  If you make judgments about people (we all do it!) and then voice your opinions based on those judgments then this applies to you as well.  If you have ever left a comment on Facebook mentioning what the Duggars think of women or called someone legalistic or claimed you know what anyone else thinks…you need to step back and examine your motives and look for truth.

I do understand hating someone.  I struggle with it just like anyone else. Those who have sought to destroy our family instead of talking with us in love make it very difficult to live out what God tells me to do.  I see their posts all over social media rejoicing because of my suffering and it’s so painful.  But again, there is help for me.  I run to the Word and what do I see there…..love and comfort and a father who hurts when I hurt.  He gives me so. much. joy!  I can’t help but get beyond my pain and see what’s on the other side of the hate.

There awaits forgiveness.  Love.  Peace.  Compassion.  Mercy.  Grace.  Lots and lots of grace.  It is there for me and it is there for you no matter who you are.

You are loved.  Believe it.  Then spread that around.  It’s not easy, but you will find something amazing when you do!

Now back to my regular, fun posts.

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

I keep thinking lately about what it means to take responsibility for our actions.

When we blame others for our choices, it not only keeps us from maturing and growing in areas we need to, but it hinders having whole, healthy relationships.

If I try to deceive you, then say I had to do it because of something you did……I am basically letting someone else make my choices.  And it is a choice.  I CHOOSE to lie or not.  No one makes me.  And if I blame you, then you can never really trust me.  Our relationship becomes broken and trust is very difficult to repair.

It is not always easy to be honest with people, but honesty is about who you are, not who the other person is.  Either you are honest….or you’re not.  It has nothing to do with what anyone else does.  I picture myself standing before God when I die and He says, “Why did you tell that lie?”  Will I answer, “I had to God!  She is so hard to talk to!”  No…..that won’t fly with Him….he sees what is in my deepest heart and there will be no point in trying to hide the truth from Him.


“Therefore, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12

It’s not just about honesty, there are plenty of ways we can create a problem then blame someone else.  No one makes us gossip, be rude, swear, hate, lash out, lie, or slander.  Your kids don’t make you yell, your husband doesn’t make you nag, the car tailgating you doesn’t give you road rage.

Let’s be real….we all mess up occasionally.  We are human!  I recently found myself gossiping about a friend.  I stopped and repented to the person I was talking to and then called my friend to confess, apologize and ask forgiveness.  Yes, she had done something really difficult for me to handle and I was struggling with how to deal with it.  But when I was asking for advice, my description of her actions went too far.  I could feel myself crossing the line.  Ugh!

When you do something that deep inside you know you shouldn’t, apologize and take responsibility.  I don’t get to blame my friend for being too difficult to talk to directly.  I chose that.  And I now choose to turn from the fear of being wrong and challenge myself to be a person who faces hard things and doesn’t use excuses for bad behavior.

“Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.” Proverbs 10:23

We choose who we will be, not based on how people treat us or what they tell us we are, but on our own decisions based on God’s Word.  God says that if I do foolish things, I am a fool.  Not, unless someone provokes you then it’s OK.

But the good news is that I can always turn that around!  I am not stuck and I don’t have to wait for anyone else to change before I can become wise or truthful or righteous.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” Matthew 12:36

What is so amazing is that God built in natural discipline when we take responsibility instead of blaming others.  The pain of having to fess up and repent will stick with me and I will not likely gossip again any time soon.  But if I never apologized and decided that it was OK because she was too hard to deal with, then I would undoubtedly slip further and further down that slippery slope until no one would be able to trust me and I would never understand why.

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for them.”  Proverbs 26:12

When I let my husband know that my nagging is my own struggle and don’t give him excuses for it, he can trust me not to get offended the next time he feels like he needs to point out that I am being overly critical.  I want him to trust me.  Wherever I am contributing to our problems, I want to change myself no matter what he does.

So, who do you want to be?  Someone who is stuck because of how other people treat you?  Or someone who can have victory in any circumstance?

If you choose truth, in my experience even if you are humble, there will be people who won’t want that kind of relationship.  They will leave.  They can’t take the pressure that comes from being responsible for their own decisions, so they flee.  It’s sad and painful, but in the same way that you are responsible for your choices, they are responsible for theirs.  Don’t let it stop you from saying yes to Christ and no to sin.

A post about taking responsibility for your own actions and not blaming others.  It will encourage you that you aren't a victim!

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

I am going to continue to challenge myself to pay close attention and when I sense that I am crossing a line….stop and take responsibility instead of making excuses.  I have no doubt this will bring up some hard lessons for me.  While I have made it my goal to be honoring to God’s Word, if I am not purposefully listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit I can tend to let little things pass and before I know it they can turn into big issues.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

I will be praying for you also…..we need all the help we can get to walk this road of humanness.  Once we see where we need to make changes, there is grace waiting for us and mercy to see ourselves for who we are…..sinners saved by grace for His works.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10

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50 is the New FABULOUS!

50 is the New FABULOUS!

Well friends, I did it.  I survived for 50 years.  I know, it comes as a shock to me too.

When I was a girl I thought being 50 looked like this picture that always hung in my grandmother’s hallway.  These were twin sisters and I don’t know much about them except that my grandmother adored them.


But it turns out that 50 looks like this….


I can honestly say that I have been really looking forward to this birthday.  There are so many things about turning 50 that are wonderful that I have decided to make a list.



1. Contentment.  There’s just something about having this many years behind me that gives me a sense of peace and contentment.  I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore.  This is it.  And I like it.
2. Knowledge.  The saying, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.”  Yep.  That.
3. Wisdom.  Wisdom is something that doesn’t automatically come with age, but it comes from God.  I have a long way to go and, hopefully, a long time to get there.  But I appreciate what little wisdom I have and ask for more every day.  I guess what I’m saying is that my appreciation for wisdom has deepened as I have aged.

Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold”

4. The loss of youth.  Truly, I look back at my youth and while it was fun to be young, I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything.  This is where it’s at, man.
5.  Older kids.  Sure, I loved my years of having babies; it was wonderful!  But this time in my life when my kids are older and can take care of themselves is so, so sweet.
6. Health.  I have been so blessed with great health.  Even though I am less bendy than I used to be, I am loving my sense of well being.
7. Freedom from pleasing others.  This one took me longer than necessary to get to.  But I am blessed to have learned that if pleasing others is my goal in life I will never succeed.  If pleasing God and honoring the path that I believe He set me on is my goal then I can’t fail!
8. Wrinkles.  You know what?  I don’t mind my wrinkles.  They are a mark of honor and a blessing.  I think of them as well earned.  They are my beauty lines.

“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”  Audrey Hepburn

9. Being established.  It seemed like the last 3 decades of life were about establishing ourselves.  My husband built his career and I worked on homeschooling my kids and my writing.  In the past couple of years we have felt that the groundwork has been laid and now we can move forward with more strength.  Although I don’t know if it needed to take this long….I am glad to be there.
10. Confidence.  It took a lot of loss and heartbreak to learn where my confidence lies….in Christ and Christ alone.  I will fall and fail and mess up and blunder my way through life.  It’s when I am able to stop leaning on my own strength and use His strength that I find a deep sense of confidence.  The older I get, the easier that is to do.
11. More suffering behind me = More Joy.  I learned a long time ago that suffering adds great joy to your life because it draws you nearer to God and you lean more on Him and less on yourself.  After 50 years I have had my share of suffering and I can say that I am all the better for it!

“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”  Charles Spurgeon

12. Body image.  My body went south long ago and I stopped trying to hide it.  After many pregnancies and years of gaining and losing weight, stretch marks and saggy places abound on my body.  And you know what?  I don’t care one bit.
13. Laughter.  I laugh more easily than I used to.  I have always taken myself much too seriously and that has changed as I have gotten older.  I will probably always be a bit OCD, but now I find it funny.
14. I lose things and I don’t care.  The old thinker ain’t what it used to be.  I had something in my hand a minute ago and now it’s gone….sometimes forever.  But I don’t stress it like I used to.  It’s just stuff.
15. Stories.  The more time that passes the more fun stories I have to tell.  Accidentally wetting myself little when I laugh too hard with my girlfriends has happened to me more than a few times….it just gives me more to laugh about.
16. Dancing.  I have always wanted to learn to do the jive, so I am teaching myself through YouTube videos.  I may show you someday.  I even have a few hip hop moves thrown in.  You’re never too old to learn new things!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  Walt Disney

17. Going to bed early.  As I age I find it harder and harder to stay up late and you know what?  I don’t care what I’m missing.  I’m tired.
18. Discounts.  Yep.  This came in the mail….
19. Confidence for my kids.  I love how it boosts their confidence in being adults and helping out their old mom.  It’s positively adorable when they look like they want to pat me on the head.
20.  Looking like myself.  I can color my hair if I want or wear clothes that don’t match exactly or buy myself odd shaped glasses and just embrace being me!  I used to think about others when I got dressed, but now I just think about what I want to look like for myself.
21. Helping younger women.  Like it or not, I am generally the older woman in the group and I love putting Titus 2 into action.

Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

22. Loving others.  As I age I find that I love others more.  I sympathize and care more deeply and forgive more easily.
23. Shaking off negativity.  Even though I forgive, I also more easily give myself permission to let go of toxic people.  I love them and want them to have joy-filled lives.  But I don’t let their negativity bring me down and sometimes that means letting people go.
24. No more rat race.  I am free of the idea that I have to keep up with anyone or do anything by tomorrow.  I just do what I can when I can.
25. Gluten-Free! My mid-life enzymes aren’t what they used to be.  I eat more carefully and frankly, I feel better than I have in years!
26. Loving my bones.  As long as I am eating better, I am also exercising.  My bones need it and I am loving my quiet time that naturally goes with my daily workout.
27. I know who my friends are.  I have gained and lost many friends over the past 50 years.  Some have been deeply painful losses and others came and went so quickly that I hardly noticed.  But all in all I have learned something from each person and I am better for it.  And I have learned to recognize a true friend and to trust my instincts.

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Maya Angelou

28. No more oats.  I don’t feel like sowing any of those wild oats anymore.  Been there; done that.  Now I get to reap the harvest of my life.  Sure I will change things about myself in a million ways and try new things.  But I don’t have a sense of a life unexplored.
29. Cleansing.  I am ready to get rid of all of the junk sitting around that isn’t serving my life.  I don’t see any more reason to hang onto old stuff, but instead I am ready to open my world up to a clean space.
30. No more jumping  I do like jumping, but I can’t do it anymore.  (see #15).  That’s OK.  I can still jump with joy on the inside.  Some things you just have to accept.  Life’s too short to wish for things you just can’t do.
31. More to give.  The more I grow and accomplish the more I have to give to others.  I love, love, love helping others and I think my 50s are going to be my decade for giving and I can.not.wait!

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,  for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

32. Marriage strength.  After being married for nearly 29 years, I can say that it is better than ever.  We have a rhythm and understand each other.  Well, maybe not understand as much as accept.  And we’re still frisky.  Longevity in marriage is an incredible blessing!
33.  Oblivious.  I see the award shows or hear a song and I don’t recognize any of the artists or actors.  Unless it’s Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro I am lost.  And I don’t really care to find out who they are because I have other things to do that are more interesting to me.  I just let my kids load new songs on my iPhone (see #19) and leave it at that.
34. Being a real grown up.  Maybe I am the only one, but I always felt like a kid pretending to be a grown up.  Until now.  Being 50 gives me permission to say I am all adult and proud of it.  But I still act silly….don’t mistake being a grown up with never having fun.  I have the BEST kind of carefree FUN!
35. I remember the 70s.  I actually remember wearing bell bottoms and watching Sonny & Cher and the day Elvis died.  I am blessed to have lived in a time when there were no cell phones and no Internet and life was simpler.


36. Still young.  While I am not young in the sense of years, I am still able to learn to do new things and figure out how to use the Facebook.  I really have the best of both worlds!
37.  No more “lady days.”  It may be TMI, so men, if you’re reading, just skip this one, m’kay?  Ladies, I have passed through the menopause years and it is AWESOME!!!  No more cycles and I am loving this.  It wasn’t easy though….I have deep sympathies for those of you going through the change now.
38.  Travel.  I have always wanted to travel and couldn’t for various reasons.  Now that I am in this phase of my life I can do more traveling and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Waiting for so long makes me thankful even for the parts that are less enjoyable, like being frisked by an airport security officer or squeezed on a plane.  I like every little part of it after waiting for so long to be able to do it.
39.  Knowing the Word of God.  With this much time to study, I ought to know a lot about what the Bible says.  I read it every day and I have been through years of BSF.  All of that has equipped me to have a better understanding of who God is and how He wants me to view the world.  I am looking forward to another 50 years to study and learn even more about the nature and love of God!
40. The grass is green on MY side. Looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing it to your life is for the birds.  I like it on my side of the fence.  I don’t even look on the other side anymore.

“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men.  It then appears that we are among the privileged” Helen Keller

41. Finances are easier.  We aren’t loaded, but it’s been a long time since I had to count every penny at the grocery store.  I learned a lot from those days in my life, but I sure am glad they are behind me.
42. I wear any underwear that I want.  I feel no pressure to wear anything that creeps up my behind or makes me look attractive underneath.  My granny panties serve me just fine, thankyouverymuch.
43. I don’t need to win.  I used to be more competitive and I wanted to win games and push my way to the front of the line.  Now I chill.  I enjoy the time in line and I am happy if I in or lose.  I don’t care at all….that drive to win just went away as I aged.  And I am so glad.  (but don’t worry, if we are partners in a game I will still be fun to play with!)
44. I like lifting others UP!  There are very few things I enjoy more than helping another woman reach the height of her dreams.  If there is any way that a word or boost from me can help….I am all over that!  Seeing other women succeed, unlike the envy years of my 20s, brings me great joy!
45. I still love the movie “Grease”.  I know…it has a terrible message and doesn’t reflect anything I believe.  But I can’t help it.  37 years after seeing it for the first time (I’ll bet I saw it 20 times at the theater the year it came out because back then you couldn’t watch it on DVD 2 months later) I still can’t hold myself back from dancing when I hear those songs.  Hey!  Maybe I’ll do my jive (see #16)  to “We Go Together”.

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes!”  Vince Fontaine in “Grease”
46.  I know myself.  I know what I am good at and I know what I am NOT good at.  There is so much joy in building your skills in the areas that God gifted you in and letting go of trying to be good at everything.  My strengths and weaknesses make me unique, and why would I want to be like anyone else?!
47. Early mornings.  The older I get the earlier I naturally wake up in the morning.  I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but I sure do love seeing the sunrise!
48. Playing with makeup.  I have enjoyed discovering and trying new things from the makeup department.  My aging skin needs care and I like beauty products and I’m a sucker for those bright promises.  It’s a delightful indulgence that I’ve enjoyed even more as I get older.  And I have more time for my skin care at night too, since my kids can put themselves to bed (usually long AFTER I go to sleep).
49. I am calmer.  I don’t get as upset over little things and I calm down more quickly when I do get irritated.  If getting older has taught me anything, it would be that life is too short to fuss over little messes and disappointments.  I’ll probably never be completely easy-going, but I am definitely more relaxed than I used to be and I have hope of chillin’ even more in the future.
50. More life ahead!  I have so much left to live and I am acutely aware of the preciousness of every day.  I can see that the 50s are going to be fabulous.  Not because this time in life is trouble-free, but because it is a blessing to be alive and know who I am in Christ!

The little girl I was 50 years ago would never have believed that this was her future.  Nine children, homeschooling (of course, who heard of homeschooling 50 years ago?!), obsessed with natural health care and living in an old house on a little farm…it’s crazy that this is my life!

It’s better and richer than anything I would have dreamed for myself!




A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

Many, many of you have asked for updates on the situation with our daughter.  I have been hesitant to talk any more about it for several reasons.

1. There really is not much to tell since there have not been any significant changes.
2. Like I said in my original post, I only want to share my own story and not speak for anyone else.  (I have received a few emails of criticism for that, which puzzles me because I was only trying to respect the others in this situation.  But I certainly do NOT think this is all about me….in fact I think very little of it is about me at all, but a mother’s heart can break over her child no matter how old the child is and if you don’t understand that then you are blessed not to have felt this pain).
3. I don’t want it to be the focus of my blog.

BUT….I am not hesitant to share how incredible God is and that His hand has been so obvious through all of our sorrow and tears.  Despite the overwhelming agony of loss, the unspeakable joy that has cropped up all around me has to be shared!


In the beginning of this trial I asked Him to make me an empty vessel through which He could pour out His beauty and grace.  And He has used this situation to grant that prayer.  But let me warn you, before you pray that…..be ready for your world to be shaken up big time!  You can’t be empty if you are hanging onto idols in your life with a vice grip.  Trust me, I am the queen of that.  My knuckles are still sore from trying.

So, while I still hurt deeply, I am also experiencing a depth of faith that I didn’t understand before.   I know a greater joy through many blessings including a deeper, richer relationship with our other adult children who have stood by and supported the hard decisions that we have had to make.  I have learned to lean on God when things around me look bleak.  There is story after story I could tell you about how He has shown Himself to all of us in amazing ways.  Here are a few examples:

One afternoon I was crying in my bathroom and one of the boys heard me.  He knocked on the door and asked if he could pray with me.  He put his arms around me and cried with me and we prayed.  Suddenly, we both instantly felt a surge of strength and the burden lift.  Really…it was an actual physical lifting and a surprise to us both. We pulled back and looked at each other in amazement.  Afterwards my son offered me some incredible Biblical advice that was wise beyond his years. It gave me huge comfort!  God is using my pain to help turn my son into a man and draw closer to Him…..wow!

During my time at the Summit several older women approached me and asked how I was doing.  They knew about our situation and wanted to encourage me.  These wise women poured the love of God into me and I could so clearly see that He gave me these friends a year before this happened because He knew how much I would need them now.  To have godly women who have been in my shoes tell me that I am on the right path and not to lose hope…..priceless!

One more story….on Friday night at the Oklahoma Summit the team members (me included) were standing in the front of the ballroom ready to pray for the women there.  I had prayed with a couple of ladies and was standing there waiting when a women came up to me….I was ready to lift her up, but she said that she came to pray for me!  She offered the sweetest prayer and words of encouragement to me!  I wept on her shoulder.  It felt like God sent an angel.

I could go on and on….almost every day since this all began He has used someone (many of YOU!) to lift me up and show Himself.  And every single time I am reminded of His love and I want to shout it from the rooftops!  GOD IS GOOD!!!!

Then I want to pour it all right back out to you.

When you are struggling with anything….ANYTHING….He is there to comfort you.  His Word is a balm that I crave more and more as I walk this path.  Don’t underestimate the power of the revealed Will of God.  Some things are so hard to see….but there is SO much that is right there in front of you.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says His ways are not just for us, but for our children! It is His will that we tell the truth (Ex 20:16), that His mercy does not depend on anything I do (Romans 9:14-24), He does not tempt us (James 1:13), that there is only one way to be saved (Mark 16:16), and much more!

I share those with you so that you know that when you can’t figure out what His will is for you, you always know what He reveals to us in His Word.  It’s a great place to start!  Then He will unfold the rest as you need it.


The bottom line is…..I don’t trust myself.  I make mistakes, I mess things up, I can look back on any part of this ordeal and see things I could have done differently and probably should have.  Yes, often I hear from God through the Holy Spirit and I do my best to make sure it’s not my own thoughts then step out in faith.  It’s all I can really do if I want peace, put my trust in God….I know that He will work it all for my good and for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  I try my best and then leave the rest in His hands.

Thanks so much to all of you for being so willing to let God use you to bless our family!  I pray that it is coming back to you 100-fold.  And I pray that when you face trials that feel like you can’t survive that you find comfort and peace in the Word of God and His mercy and grace.

Now, back to our regular, lighter posts……