Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

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As you head into your spring weekend, I have a few things you might want to peruse for some light reading.  Books are amazing, books are my favorite thing, I’d spend a weekend with a book as often as possible.  But sometimes I don’t have a whole weekend to spend in a hammock with a whole book, so these will serve as a momentary substitute until you have more time.  Some of these are articles I wrote and most are treasures written by people I follow and I want to share them with you…

  1. 8 Mother-Daughter Tips from an Older Mom – This list of 8 things I would share with moms of young girls is one you may want to bookmark.  Read it again when you’re struggling.  After 26 years of experience with raising daughters, many victories and many failures, I am happy to share this sweet list with you.
  2. No Screen-Time Until… – My friend Becky at Your Modern Family shares how her family handles screen time in her home and she has a cute printable for the kids to reference.  It’s super cute!  We are very tight about how much screen time the kids get, only at night after dinner with their ipods and the wii is once a week for 2 hours, one movie a week on Friday night.  But occasionally they will ask on a quiet Saturday if they can do something electronic and I can see this list being a great source for when to let them.
  3. When Motherhood Reveals Your Blemishes – This from The Better Mom isn’t about skin care, like I first suspected, but about having your weaknesses and fear exposed.  It’s a quick, easy read of encouragement and hope.
  4. When They Say ‘Be Yourself” They Don’t Mean Me – This is an older post of mine that I shared on Facebook last week to give people a laugh.  Sometimes we just need a time of getting outside our head and laughing at what could have so easily have happened to us.  Enjoy!
  5. Momma Are You Listening? – Be careful about this one…it’s ouchie!  Wendy over at Hip Homeschool Moms shares the sad truth about how we pay more attention to our phones than we do our kids.  I have a rule not to be on my phone at all when I am out with my family.  It is really hard (sad, but true) but I know it’s the right thing to do.
  6. Lastly, if you are looking for a whole book to spend the weekend with, all curled up on a lawn chair, be sure to pick up my book, “Mama Needs a D0-Over“.  Get it on Kindle and don’t wait to get started!

I hope you have a glorious weekend of refreshing and relaxing.  Be blessed!

Lisa on Ice

Lisa on Ice

 

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Sorry, no ice skating here.  After all, I live in South Texas.  The kind of ice I am on is more of an ice pack than an ice rink.  I hate to be a drag, but ice skating is about the last thing I could have done this past weekend, even if I lived in Canada.  Mostly because I can barely walk.

It happened Saturday morning.  My babiest girl and I were about to head out to celebrate her birthday with some mom-daughter shopping when I brilliantly decided to toss a load of laundry in the dryer before we left.  Mistake.  BIG mistake.  I mean, no one really needed those sheets and towels right then.  I just turned as I was putting the sheets in the dryer and felt a pain.  That;’s the whole story; I didn’t even get a good laugh out of it.

My daughter was standing at the front door waiting for me to finish the laundry switch when I limped past her and said I had just done something, not sure what, to my back and needed to grab some ice and some oils.  I oiled up, threw an ice pack behind me in the car, and off we went to shop ’til we dropped.  Unfortunately, I dropped immediately.  The whole getting-in-and-out-of-the-car thing became a problem.  After only an hour of shopping it became obvious that this wasn’t going away.  I had to wait in the car while she shopped.  Happy birthday to you ♫.

I texted a friend of mine, the wife of a chiropractor, and asked her what to do.  She gave me her thoughts and I followed them (once I got home).  Of course, she’s not a real chiro so I realize her advice isn’t considered treatment, just like when someone asks me for tax advice.  You should really ask my husband instead, but I might know a little bit.

“Rest as much as possible until Monday then get to the chiropractor.”  Ice, oils, rest, repeat.

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That would have been lovely if I hadn’t been scheduled to speak at a local woman’s group on Sunday afternoon.  I texted another friend, “Please pray for me….I can barely walk or stand and I have to speak tomorrow.”  She asked me if she needed to learn my speech, just in case.  It didn’t seem right to have her tell all about her CPA/attorney husband and 9 kids, so I hobbled through it, then went home and got back on the regimen.  Ice, oils, rest, repeat.

Today I am 5% better and headed to the chiro.  The good news is, I am getting a lot of writing done.  The bad news is I am having to cancel some important appointments this week.  I really, really hate cancelling commitments!

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My 4 younger boys are taking care of me, which is interesting.  Sunday afternoon I had Levi (8 years old) as my helper.  At bedtime I called him to turn the bed down for me and while he did that I got into my PJs.  It hurt to stand so I was anxious to lie down and before giving it much thought I painfully fell into bed.  Then I realized that I had forgotten to do several things, so I told Levi, “I have bad news for you, I am going to need you to do some more things for me.”

“Why is that bad news?” he asked.  “Well,” I smiled at his sweet little face, “Because I only asked you to turn down the bed, but now I need you to plug in my phone, start my diffuser and a few other things.”

“I don’t see why that’s bad news, Mommy.  It’s basically all I have been doing all day anyway, and besides, I really don’t even get what’s wrong with you.”

Oh, to be young again!

My 14 year old is my helper today and he, unlike Levi, is checking on me every 20 minutes.  He set his timer and he is taking his job very seriously.  A little too seriously.  He’s like the waiter who refills your tea every 15 minutes whether you want it or not.  I mean, I appreciate the dedication, but I am trying to get some work done here.

But don’t feel sorry for me.  By the end of the week I will be up and running again.  My boys and I will have had some quality time and I will have gotten 20 things knocked off my list of “sitting jobs.”  There’s always something good to be found in an unexpected situation!

Have a terrific week!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat….just search for @penningtonpoint.

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

Spring.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…..

I can’t help it, I get poetic about the amazing weather and flowers popping out everywhere.  It’s such a nice change from brown grass and chilly rain.  It doesn’t get super cold here, but it’s still enough to make your bones feel frozen.

We’ve been spring cleaning around here.  Every afternoon I work on one spot in the house, cleaning and organizing it.  I am doing it slowly in an attempt to trick myself into thinking I’m not really working.  It’s just one drawer or a bookshelf or cabinet, right?  No biggie.  And so far the illusion seems to be successful.  I am getting things done and not feeling overwhelmed.

Since we have a houseful of company this week the cleaning is going to slow down, but that’s OK.  We can pick it back up next week.  It’s not like the mess is going anywhere.

My oldest daughter is home from Dallas with her favorite guy.  All of our older kids will be attending the Christian Worldview Film Festival together this week.  It’s something they look forward to every year.  Another daughter made a short film that’s playing in the festival, so we are all excited to see it on the big screen.  I may cry during the showing, ‘cuz that’s what my mother heart does when I see one of my kids reaching for their dreams.  When she goes to the Academy Awards in a few years to accept her award for Best New Screenplay, she should probably not ask me to be her +1.  I’ll cry the ugly cry and embarrass when she is being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest.

We also have a couple of other friends staying here this week so it’s a full house.  That means lots of extra food and toilet paper and laundry detergent.  I went to Costco and stocked up as best I could, but I am sure there were holes in my plan and I will have to make a few grocery runs during the festival.  It’s my goal to make that part of their week easy so they can just enjoy the fellowship.

Last night a few extra young adults joined us all for dinner and it was such a special time.  In our dining room there are 2 tables, a long one where our whole family eats our daily meals and a shorter table where we generally do school and it doubles as an extra when we have a lot of people over.  The 20-somethings all sat around the long table with a few of my teens.  James and I sat at the shorter table with our little boys and were supposed to be talking to eat other.  But I couldn’t focus on my table conversation because I was too busy soaking in the joy of having a table full of godly, smart, laughing, young adults next to me.

I promise I wasn’t listening in on their conversations.  I really was not paying attention to what they were saying at all.  I just absorbed the joy of it.  This is my dream…..happy kids with happy friends all helping each other find their way in the world.  Watching a toddler learn to walk is amazing, but it’s really just a shadow of watching your grown child learn to walk into their adult life.  It makes my heart explode with the sweetness.

The only negative to my whole weekend was the ridiculous annoyance of Daylight Savings Time, which has thrown my internal clock into a tizzy and I can’t wake up.  Like, all day.  I practically fell asleep last night at 8:00, which shouldn’t happen because doesn’t my body think it’s 7:00 and I should be fully awake?!  But NO!  I think I have DTS induced narcolepsy.

So I will be half sleep-walking through my week with all of these house guests and my beautiful daughter visiting and the film festival.  I hope I can wake up enough to at least get the rest of the groceries we need.

Have a great week…..I’ll be soaking in the sun, the kids, their friends a few naps and my partially clean house.

A Word for 2016

A Word for 2016

So it’s a whole new year.  Clean slate.  Ready – set – go!

For me, 2015 will go down in my personal history as one of the hardest years of my life.  Years from now when I am in the nursing home and an attendant pushing my wheelchair asks me, “So, tell me about your life.” I will say, “I don’t remember much, but I do know that 2015 was H-E-double-hockey-sticks.”

I am glad to have it behind me and I have high hopes for 2016.  Not that there’s any reason to think that except trust in God and believing He knows that I can only take so much.

Then there’s that “Word of the Year” thing people do.  Last year I chose the word “trust” and man-oh-man, did I get tested on that.  I’m pretty sure I passed, but my grade might be like a D.  So this year I wrote down a few words that I thought might make the year a little easier.  I thought maybe a word like SLEEP would be good.  Or SNACKS.

But then, ya know, I prayed about it and God said no.  I had to have a word that actually would challenge me to be more like Christ.  Really, these words, it feels a little like He chooses them because I will start to feel drawn to something in particular and slowly it becomes clear.  Like those Magic Eye pictures from the 90s where you think you see a kaleidoscope of images but when you change your focus it actually has a crystal clear other picture there.

This one, for example, shows 3D snowflakes and two of the birds float to the front when you look at it with a different focus:

So I changed my focus on my list of word ideas and God gave HUMILITY for 2016.  I am really hoping for a gentler lesson than the 2015 experience, but with a word like humility, it could get rough.

I think I am going to order one of those teeny stamped rings with my 2016 word on it.  I have a few others already with some favorite words that inspire me.  I have one that says “abundance” another “valor” which are my favorite essential oils.  I have a “trust” ring for 2015 and a few blank ones.  I was, of course, originally going to get my kids’ names on my rings, but with 9 of them it was too many to wear at once and I felt bad thinking I would have to choose which kids to wear each day, so I went with motivational words instead.  After all, if I am drawn to be more humble, trusting and brave then I am a better mom with or without their name on my finger.   So I will add “humility” to the stack and hope it helps me see where God is leading me this year.

God has been convicting me more and more over the past few months that I need to expand my serving.  I would have told you that I already do plenty of that, but since He has been so clear to me that I need to do more then I am following His lead.  Plus I need to work on other areas of humility like to listen more and talk less, think more of others and recognize more that I am not always right.

I don’t know where God and I are going with this, but I am bracing myself for the journey.  I am not going to force it.  I’ll just start small and see where He leads.

Speaking of humility, I’ve been sharing some sweet, humble stories on Facebook all week of acts of kindness and caring.  Finding these stories to share is helping me see where I am supposed to shift my perspective.  Plus it’s been good for me to see how many selfless things people do for each other.  We all need that reminder in the midst of news stories of school shootings and people tearing each other down on the internet.

This one is too long for me to share anywhere else and the image quality is bad, but it’s worth sharing!.  Be warned…you may need a tissue….

So his mom posted the on social media:

And look what happened….

It was even better than they could have planned.

 

This was a little boy’s dream come true.  A simple act of kindness could alter his life.

Don’t be mad at me if you’re bawling now.  I gave you fair warning.

What about you…do you choose a word for the year?  I’d love to know what it is.

Join the conversation over on my Facebook page!

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello!  If you’re stopping by from Thomas Nelson…welcome!  I hope you’ll hang around and if you want to know more about me THIS is a good place to start!

10 great questions to have your kids ask themselves when they are bored. #parenting

With 9 kids, I have heard many versions of “Mom, I’m bored,” and, “I don’t have anything to do.”  I usually send them outside with orders to, “Run around and have FUN!”.  But the cold weather (or here in Texas, the summer heat) can keep us inside and not sure what to do with ourselves.

I keep a list posted in the house for the kids to reference when they have nothing to do: 10 things to ask yourself before you tell Mom you’re bored.

Before you tell Mom you’re bored, answer these questions:

  1. Is your room clean?  Picking up a few things and straightening is an important thing to do every day.
  2. Have you exercised?  Use your body and get your heart rate up every day.
  3. Can you help someone?  The best way to use your free time is to give it to someone else.
  4. Have you read a book today?  Keep your mind exercised by reading every day!
  5. Have you prayed?  When you’re bored, it’s a good time to spend a few minutes talking to God.
  6. Have you read the Bible?  Find a verse and read it 3 times then say it out loud.
  7. Have you done something creative?  Draw a picture, write a story, play some music, weave a potholder.
  8. Have you played a game with someone?  NOT a video game, but a game where you sit at a table facing each other and talking to each other.
  9. Are your chores done?  Is the dog bowl clean and your laundry put away?  You are an important part of your family and when you don’t do your chores you are making life harder for everyone else.
  10. Is there something you can find to do yourself?  Look around and see what you can do without interrupting Mom or Dad to ask.  You might be surprised at what’s available to you already.

Here are a few fun books to keep around for the kids to read while they’re looking for something to do:

Read and Share 5 Minute Bible Stories (quick, easy reference to find Bible stories, you might even find art projects to go along with them!), Henry Hodges Needs a Friend (a sweet little book about feeling left out), Under the Sea  (packed with hundreds of ideas for felt creations), MindWar (for the teens, one of those thrillers about a seemingly ordinary teenager who discovers a hidden gift)
The next time your child tell you they are bored, get out the questions and let them find productive things to do on their own.  Get their creative juices flowing and teach them to make wise choices for how to spend their time.
And then send them out to play.
Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!
Today I am Thankful

Today I am Thankful

Last week when I was at Disney I got to meet a couple of y’all and that was wonderful!  I love meeting you all in person and getting to chat with you.  Each of the ladies I met asked me the same question that many of you ask me, “How are things going with your daughter?”.

I have stayed away from this subject on the blog for several reasons.

  1. There really isn’t anything to tell.  We don’t hear from her and know very little about her life.
  2. It is painful.  I like to be positive and encouraging here, but I want to be honest.  This is a very hard subject for me and frankly I just don’t like to talk about it.
  3. The haters.  It is a sad, sad world out there and people sure do enjoy tearing others apart.  Every time I mention anything about my hurt over this situation people come out of the woodwork to throw stones at me and it’s just so dumb and mean.  I simply don’t want to dredge up the crazy.
  4. The very, very limited accessibility we have with her is a precious treasure to me and I don’t want to lose that by saying anything that would hurt her in any way.  Sometimes you just need to keep quiet and pray, so that’s what we’re doing.

But I know that many of you care about us and wonder how I am.  I get asked about it several times a day, and your tenderness has been a blessing!!!

Here’s the answer: I am really, really sad, but I am OK.  In fact, I am finding places of joy and peace that I never knew existed before because I never needed it so much.  I am learning humility and hope and trust in the God who knows exactly what we need.

I am still working on some other lessons I need to learn, like forgiveness and confidence in who I am in Christ without being affected by what other people think.  Those 2 things, yeah, not easy.  I read once that if we won’t forgive someone else then we don’t fully understand the depths of our own depravity.  That really helps me remember that I am no more deserving of forgiveness than anyone else, no matter what they’ve done.  The Bible is clear on that.  But honestly, there are a few people that my flesh would rather never see or hear from again.  Just being real, not saying it’s right.

God is even using that battle to grow me into a stronger, wiser, more valuable member of the Kingdom.  I do want that, even though it hurts like H-E-double-hockeysticks.

This week, as we move into the holidays I am fighting the grief again.  My heart breaks daily and God beautifully mends it every single time.  He often uses you all to be His messenger of love.  Those of you who have sent me cards and messages, you have held me together.  Every note of encouragement is a healing balm to me.  Isn’t it amazing how you find out who your true friends are through these kinds of trials?  I have been shocked (and saddened) at who has been hateful and even more surprised at many who came out in force to stand firm by my side.  Those people are my earth angels (great, now I’m picturing Marty McFly from Back to the Future and that song “Earth Angel”).

God uses our suffering for our good, and knowing who you can really trust is a very good thing!  I have been so, so grateful for that.  And He has shown me where I am strong, thickened my skin, held me up in times of trial and proved to me that I can survive what I would have thought would kill me.

OK, I am reading back through this and it sounds like a real downer.  I don’t want to leave you with anything but the tremendous hope and gratitude that I have in what God can do and how great He is to use my hardships to help me and the people I love.  Nothing but good will come of this trial, that I am sure of.

Here are a few things that I am so, so thankful for…

  1. He has lovingly removed some toxic people from my life.
  2. He is teaching me to forgive, which is my biggest challenge.
  3. He is showing me where my value lies, which is in Him!
  4. He is making me more loving and understanding.
  5. He is giving me new friends who are trustworthy.
  6. He is strengthening my relationship with my other kids (this part has been SUCH a blessing!)
  7. He is teaching me blind trust and giving me that kind of joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with circumstance.
  8. He has strengthened my marriage through this, when it could have easily gone the other way.
  9. He has blessed my business, how amazing!!!
  10. He has give me the opportunity through this to encourage thousands of you who are going through a similar trial, which is an incredible gift to me.

Yippee!!  Look at what a great list that is! I hope that encourages you to be thankful this week and for whatever God is doing in your life.  It can get really hard, but oh so rich with blessings along the way!  Make your own list and see what great things God is doing.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May the joy of the Lord be your strength!

 

5 Tips for the Days When Mom Gets Sick

5 Tips for the Days When Mom Gets Sick

This post contains affiliate links.

5 great things you can do in advance to prepare for the days when mom gets sick

As we approach the winter it’s a good time to prepare for the possibility of sickness in the family.  It happens to all of us occasionally, we catch a bug that’s going around and before we know it we are in bed.  All day.

In our house, it typically starts with one of the kids and works its way around until Mom gets it.  This place can’t run well for long without Mom!  Who is going organize the meals and make sure the homework gets done?  Nope, we mothers need to stay well, but it’s not always in our hands.

Mom, with some preparation you can get a couple of days of rest and the kids can take care of things while you’re healing.  Of course, this won’t work for babies.  They can’t take care of themselves no matter how much you prepare.  That’s when you lean on your friends or your husband takes a day off of work.  Look, life happens.  See it as an opportunity to bless someone by allowing them to serve you (something I am terrible at!).

But for the kids over 3 years old, they can take care of most things for a couple of days.  You will have to lift your head occasionally to check on them and do a few small tasks, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself if you have some supplies in place for that dreaded sick day.

  1. Food – We always keep some quick fix foods on hand that are exclusively for sick days.  Crackers, cheese cubes (which can be frozen), nuts, cereal, canned fruit and beef jerky are all food that can be stored for long periods of time and don’t require cooking.  I keep ours in a sealed bin at the top of the pantry and pull it out when I am sick (otherwise someone eats it when no one is sick!).  If you don’t have this, make a list of foods that someone can pick up for you at the store like bread, bananas, peanut butter and yogurt so the kids can get eat without cooking.  If they’re old enough they can fix their own simple lunch.  If not, it is still easy for you to do with almost no clean up.
  2. Books – I have taught my kids to love books and I keep some up on a high shelf and can pull them out when I need to rest. For the little ones, a book like Count My Blessings 1-2-3” is perfect because it has some fun movable parts and if you’ve read it to them before, they will know where to count as they turn the pages.  For the middles, try “Duck Commander Devotions for Kids” by Korie Robertson.  It’s adorable! And the older kids might like “Dream Treaders,”  by Wayne Thomas Batson as the first book in a trilogy (I find mine need trilogies because they read so quickly!
  3. Toys – I have, for as long as I can remember, had s few toy sets tucked away for an emergency.  Believe me, needing something new for the kids to do can be an actual emergency when you are ill.  This would include good toys, not free stuff from their Happy Meals.  Think of Christmas and how you don’t see the kids for hours after they open their presents.  This is a similar concept, only it’s not a gift and these toys will get put away again in a day or two.  Sets like Legos and Playmobile are good for this.
  4. DVDs – In our home we only let the kids watch a movie once a week, so when sickness hits the house I don’t feel so bad that they are watching shows all day long for a few days.  I like to buy new ones during the holidays when they go on sale and tuck them away for a time when the kids really need to be kept occupied.  Also, think outside of the box and get a few that teach Bible lessons like those at Thomas Nelson.
  5. Little Helper Prizes – Teach your kids to help you by having a little chart made up in advance to play “Mommy’s Little Helper.”  You can make a list of helpful things for them to do and offer prizes for the amount of points they get at the end of the day.  I keep a box of prizes with the toys from #3.  As they do these activities, give them a tally mark in the box and at the end of the day add them up.  Each mark is a point and they get prizes at the end of the day.  Ten points gets a prize from the box.  Prizes will be things from the dollar store like a roll of tape, piece of candy, some string, a fun eraser, teeny spiral notebook, etc.  This will help to make them aware of helping plus do some of the thinking for you.

I’ve made a Mommy’s Little Helper sheet for you to get started….just download and print!

Fun game to get the kids to help when mom is sick

Truthfully, there is no way you will be able to sleep all day while you recover, you’re just too important in these little people’s lives to be out of it for long.  But being ready with these ideas will make it a LOT easier for you (and them!).

Bless all you mommies who will deal with sickness this winter.  I am praying for you!

Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

OK, it’s official.  I am so done with my husband being gone.  I already knew he was the solid one in the relationship, but after a week without him I am more sure than ever that he is the glue and I am all of the random pieces.  The mere sight of one more broken appliance will put me over the edge.

I don’t know how single parents do it.  Or military parents…seriously, you all have my mad respect.

It’s like the whole house goes into some kind of other dimension and the boys don’t get their chores done and as sweet as the girls are, they have been kind of out-of-it for the past several days. And after last week’s M-word situation, I was not sure I was the best person to be leading these troops.  I am fairly sure my 8 year old would have been a better option considering I walked around afraid of my own shadow all week.

Somebody get me the biggest box of Calgon you can find.

Despite being as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I decided to do something bold and get up Saturday morning to take the whole crew down to the city to participate in a protest at the nearest Planned Parenthood.  These rallies were taking place all around the country and we all felt we should be there.

I say it was bold because….

1. I was husbandless so that meant I was completely responsible for this crew and I think we can all see how that is going.  James and I used to attend these allies fairly often when the kids were little and I remember a few of them getting pretty ugly.

2. The Van.

I was going to have to crank up the old 15-passenger van.  And when I say crank, that’s pretty close to what it’s like.  This old thing has so many miles on it that it could be in the Guinness Book of World Records.  I don’t know how it is still working.  None of us like to drive it, it putters along, the A/C doesn’t work, it smells bad, it rattles like an old roller coaster and worst of all it gets about 2.7 miles to the gallon.

We only use it for emergency family outings, and even then we look into the price of a rental car first.

But I had to use it because we outnumbered the seats in my car and James left the minivan at the airport.  So we found the crank and off we went.

The event was very well organized and besides being so hot you could fry an egg on our foreheads, it went well.  The 600+ people there were peaceful and very upbeat about raising awareness of what is really going on inside that facility.  We saw lots of friends there and were blessed to have been a part of it.

Family participation in a rally

Afterwards I decided to run a few errands.  It’s not often we all go to the city together, it being over an hour away and us having to drive what basically equates to the Beverly Hillbillies’ vehicle to get there.  So we ate lunch then picked up some clothes for the boys.  We are going to Orlando in a few weeks for an awesome blogging event at Universal Studios called Family Forward and the boys needed shorts.  I also decided to get myself a hat, which I am not sure about yet.  Hats don’t like me very much.

We were all worn out from standing in the heat for 2 hours then shopping afterwards, so we drove home in the old van and collapsed.  Later that night we all ate dinner in my bedroom and watched the Duck Dynasty wedding, which was adorable and I cried through almost the whole show.  I love their style (except for the scraggly beards and head bandanas) and the values were so sweet.  Lord, bless them.

After church on Sunday we came home and worked on a video trailer we are making for my book that comes out NEXT WEEK!!!

It’s so close y’all!  Have you ordered yours yet?!

My 12 year old is the director and we had a great afternoon together shooting it.  My daughter Hope did all of the artwork and it’s the cutest thing since Princess Charlotte.  We are wrapping it up this week and you’ll be the first to see it!

working on a book trailer as a family

I fell asleep on Sunday night before the kids even knew I was out. They were all still awake and I just had to trust that they wouldn’t have any loud parties or burn anything because I would have slept through it all.  Mama was DONE.

This week is full of more book promotions and trying to keep my sanity.  Which basically describes my life in a nutshell.

Have a good one!

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Back in the day when my kids were little, my husband would walk in the house at the end of his workday and say, “Hi honey, what did you do today?”  And I had nothing to say.  I felt like I had been crazy busy, but when someone asks you and you can only think of small things like diaper changes and spilled crackers and crying babies and nursing the baby it feels like you did nothing.

And that’s how I feel about last weekend.  My thoughts are a blur of activity, none of which are worth telling you about.

Unless you want to start on Friday morning.  That was pretty exciting.

I woke up and decided instead of doing my morning run I would exercise in the pool.  I just felt like a change of pace.  But it was a bit of a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation because I discovered a big mess of pool toys left out from the boys swimming the night before. I so stuck my head in the house and called for the boys to come out and clean them up.  One of them was in the kitchen and he came out and started cleaning up with me.

But then as we put away the toys I noticed that there was rain water (from who knows when!) in the container where they keep the smaller toys, so we cleaned that out, and then I saw that the large toy storage was a mess, so I called another boy out and I had him straighten that and another boy came out and I had him start trimming some overgrown limbs that were dragging in the pool and the last, unfortunate son came to see where everyone was so I had him carry the cut limbs to the burn area in the back of the yard.

I finally got in the pool after half an hour of working with the boys. But only about 10 minutes into my exercises someone came running to tell me that our 16 year old son Noah had been bitten by “something”.  I got out of the water, wrapped myself in a towel and went into the kitchen where he was sitting with ice on the sting.  As I was assessing the situation he said he was starting to feel worse.  His hand (where he was bitten) had swollen to nearly double its normal size and he was covered in hives.  He said he felt like he couldn’t breathe and that’s when I started to freak.  My husband was walking in the house so I yelled for him to take our son to the hospital.  He rushed over to us and immediately agreed and while I helped Noah to the van while my husband ran to get his keys.  Our oldest son, Jacob, came out to see what was going on (I may have been screaming, I really don’t remember) and he jumped in the car with them.  They drove off and I ran to change out of my wet suit and I followed right behind.

Oh.  My.  Lord.

That was pretty much all I could say in prayers as I drove.  We live about 15 minutes from the hospital if you’re speeding.  A few minutes into my drive I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to ask people to pray.  I knew my son was already having blurred vision when they left so my mind was not working and I couldn’t think of who to call….so I just put it out on Facebook.

“Y’all please pray for my 16 year old son.  We are rushing him to the hospital.  More later. XO”

Two minutes after I asked for prayer my husband called me and said as they were pulling into the emergency room driveway our son just started breathing.  He kind of woke up, didn’t feel faint, could see and was breathing fine.  He said the swelling and redness was going down.

THE POWER OF PRAYER!!!

A beautiful testimony about how God answers prayer!

We decided that they would sit right outside of the emergency room while I ran to the pharmacy and got whatever the pharmacist recommended.  As long as he was breathing fine and didn’t have any other symptoms we didn’t think we needed to spend the morning in the ER.  But at the same time….we didn’t want to be far away if it happened again.  I took the bottle of Benadryl the pharmacist suggested to the hospital parking lot and gave the OTC meds to Noah, but honestly….except that his hand was still very swollen you couldn’t tell anything was happening to him.  He was completely fine.  I just stared at him amazed by God’s miracles.

Then I did what any mother would do…..I started to cry and pet him and kiss him and be generally annoying.  I announced that when we got home I would be sitting next to him and staring at him for the next 24-48 hours.

And here’s the message for you kids who might be reading this: If your mom was just scared out of her mind that you might die any second and she tells you that you will have to sleep next to her that night so she can listen to you breathe….there’s no point in arguing about it.

We waited there for a while then decided it would be OK to take him home.  He announced that he was really hungry and could we get him some food.  These boys are always, always, always hungry.

It’s as it should be.

So we fed him burgers and let him sit on the couch all day eating ice cream and playing wii because frankly I was too worn out from the morning to even think about him going back outside.  Plus his swollen hand was useless and he was a little sluggish from the Benadryl I gave him in the parking lot.

And the rest of the weekend after that is a blur.  While I am sure I did some other things, I really don’t remember much.  We cleaned house and went to church and to my friend Sara’s beautiful anniversary party and we shopped a little and I worked on book stuff and I barely recall any of it because the only thing on my mind was hugging my kids and thanking God for them and trying not to cry.

On Sunday evening I asked my husband if we could buy our son a pony…..or maybe a car.  He gave me this shocked look, “A car?!?!”

I know, I know.  I just wanted to do something for Noah so he would always know how glad I am that he is here.

He will have to settle for all the burgers he wants ‘cuz I can’t afford a pony or a car.

Have a great week!

R & R & More R

R & R & More R

What do you get when you cross a whirlwind trip to Ft Worth with a woman who has been detoxing from Disney and sugar?  I think you can imagine.  It’s not pretty.

I’d say that sums me up for the past weekend.  I’ve been tired and feeling low and pretty much taking naps between my naps for 2 days.

Last Thursday I popped out of bed early and my son and I drove for 6 hours, picking up a friend along the way.  The 3 of us had a nice visit while we drove and we were giddy about the Young Living meeting we were going to attend (OK, just my friend and I, my son doesn’t get giddy).  It was actually really fun and inspiring and on the way home Friday we talked about all we learned almost the entire way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my adult son.  He and I rarely have one-on-one time together, but now that he’s doing Young Living with me, we spend more time together and it feels like a Mom-Bonus!

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But no rest for the weary because we were having people over for dinner on Friday night.  Yes, that’s right, as soon as we walked in the door from the trip it was time to get ready for company.  Craziness.  A missionary from India was in town and this was the only night he could come over and we really wanted to hear his stories of miracles and God’s goodness to the beautiful people of India.  So we invited some friends and we threw together some tacos and picked up some store-bought cookies (none for me ‘cuz I’m sugar free) and really was a fabulous night!  My kids were especially blessed to hear about another part of the world.

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After our friends left, believe it or not, one of my girls needed me to run an errand with her.  It only took about an hour, but that still put me getting home at 11:30 and by the time I rolled into bed I was so tired I wondered if I would be able to get up and exercise the next morning.  I actually wondered if I would be able to get up at all.

I did sleep an extra 30 minutes on Saturday, but then I made myself get up and go for my morning walk.  It does me so much good and since I had missed it for the past 2 days I was glad to back on my little road.

The kids had breakfast ready when I got home and we were all there together for food and sharing, which is one of my favorite times all week.  We sit at the table for most of the morning and talk over everything from the schedule for the week to why cows can’t walk over cattle guards.  It’s like a roller coaster conversation….up with rolling laughter then down into deep, theological discussions.  More flips and turns and it’s really a get-to-know-you time.

After that we kind of all go our own direction for the day.  Me, I took a nap.  Then I did a LOT of writing and ended the day with another nap before bed.  I think all of my travels were really getting to me because on Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and I told James, “I don’t think I can go to church this morning.  I feel totally worn out.”

He took the kids to church and for the first time since 1989 I was completely alone in my own home.  I had no idea what to do with myself.  Sure, I could sleep more.  But the urge to clean my bedroom hit me so I started picking up clutter and putting it where it belongs.  I hung a few pictures and organized some drawers and hung some vintage style posters (that I bought in March and have been in the corner of my bedroom ever since) in the hallway.

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Then I cleaned out my purse and filled a trash bag with junk and by the time the fam was home from church I felt a lot better.  I may have to make this a semi-annual event.  Or a semi-weekly one.

I spent the rest of Sunday just letting my soul relax.  It’s been a long, hard few months and I think my mind and spirit are telling me I need to chill out for a bit.  So I plan to just lie low for the next few days and let myself unwind.

I’ll be doing pretty much nothing this week but hanging with my kids and maybe even see a movie.  I’m ready for swim weather when I can jump in after my walk and float until the kids come looking for me.

Hey….speaking of Young Living (yes, we were speaking of Young Living in the beginning…the trip to Ft Worth, remember?!), I am sending some special things to all of my new May members!  I get so many questions about how I dilute my oils to make them last longer.  So this month I am giving you a hand with 10 ready-to-use roller bottles, a little sprayer and my favorite reference book!

Go HERE to join with the Premium Starter Kit and I’ll send you that stuff as a gift from me!

Have a great week!!!!