Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How many shopping days left?

I sat in the crowded waiting room and checked my list for the second time in an hour. It was the end of November and I already felt behind and overwhelmed by the Christmas list before me.
I needed more ideas for my kids. What could I possibly get for them that they didn't already have? Deep in thought, I overheard one of the moms say "our kids only get three gifts each. If it was good enough for baby Jesus its good enough for us." A wave of peace swept through my spirit.
I soon left the waiting room, but I couldn't let go of her statement. Could it really be that simple? Why not? That year our kids received three thoughtful gifts and there wasn't one complaint. 
That was four years ago and we haven't changed that tradition. Apparently we aren't the only family to switch to this philosophy. Two years ago I read an article about another family doing the same thing. Each of their gifts were based on the original gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 
I did a little research, and our gift philosophy developed further!

Doing a quick Google search will allow you to read about the significance and history of each gift.

So now, we have:
Gold, a big gift
Frankincense, something for the spirit 
Myrrh, something for the body

This has simplified our gift giving and it has also been fun to think about what gift could fit in each category.

I also have more time to focus on the real reason for Christmas.

What do you think?

I would love to hear from you and some of the traditions you have. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Friday

My new obsession is Pinterest. I could spend hours there! After pinning and pinning, I decided it was pointless to pin without actually doing anything. So, I made this...

Here are the instructions. It is just a standard frame and you use dry erase markers to write messages or quotes. I love it!

We recently celebrated Mr. D's 6th Birthday. Every year, since the kids were old enough to respond {we started at age 2} I interview the kids on their Birthday and write down their answers {word for word}. Some of the responses are quite funny and our extended family always looks forward to reading the latest edition. I save them with their special papers so we can look back and remember. I reformatted the layout this year and decided to share. Here is a new printable for you!

Birthday Interview

Christmas is just around the corner! I am offering a coupon in my Etsy shop to all of my blog readers. If you are looking for a special gift please take a look. All of my jewelry is Scripture based and I am adding new items all the time. The coupon code is TOAST and you will receive 10% off of all items purchased in November.

One last thing, I was a guest blogger at Faith in Between this week. Please hop over and visit.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Hi friends! I've missed you! Just back from Disney.... it was wonderful and I am exhausted. Glad to be home, but trying to get back into the swing of things. 

Here is some Wednesday Wisdom for you....

Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.  Proverbs 16:1 (MSG)

For all of you early shoppers, I added a coupon to my etsy shop. All November orders are 10% off with the coupon code TOAST. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Are 'ya new here?

Photo by Stuart Miles
"Are you new here?" As the words left my mouth I could feel the heat rise from my neck to my face. In my excitement to be helpful, I let the words escape without thinking. "Um, yes" was the hesitant response.

God has been working on me to open my eyes and really see. I know He wants me to look at the things around me instead of keeping my eyes on the sidewalk while life goes whirring past. I have been making an effort to do that, but I seem to be tripping over this new task ... just call me Grace.

We attend a VERY large church. It can be intimidating to walk in the door. I can remember the first time we attended, I felt like we had entered a maze. Nothing looked familiar, no faces stood out, I didn't have any "land" marks to tell me I was going in the right direction. The greeters and ushers were very helpful and were more than gracious to get us where we needed to go. Since then, I have tried to direct others if I sense they are new or lost.

So, as Dan and I sat in our seats one morning waiting for worship to begin, I couldn't help but overhear  the conversation that was going on directly behind us {a.k.a- eavesdropping}. The little boy was asking his parents, "where are all the kids?" I'm sure his parents were just happy to be in their seats after successfully conquering the parking lot and finding the auditorium, they had not noticed the absence of anyone under the age of 13. The family began wondering, out loud, where all the kids were. This is the point in the story where I decided to be "helpful" and stick my nose in.

I eagerly turned around, happy to help and said, "Are 'ya new here?" My tone was less than helpful and the phrase is something I say to my kids when they forget one of our set-in-stone rules. Not the best impression for a new family. I tried to recover, telling them about the great children's programs and how safe it is. They were kind and said thank you.

I turned to face forward in my seat and replayed the conversation in my head. Ugh! Nice choice of words. Nice lead in. I should have offered to walk them out to the child check-in area.

Excuse me, I think my mismatched socks are showing.

Thank you Lord that You are a God of second and third and fourth chances. This isn't easy! Please help me to be kind and welcoming. Please open my eyes to see what is happening around me. Teach me how to reach out to others with grace and mercy. Remind me to slow down and depend on your wisdom, not my own. Amen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Proverbs 2

Moral Benefits of Wisdom
 1 My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
   from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
   he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
   and protects the way of his faithful ones.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Marvelous Memory Monday

The cooler weather always draws me towards comfort food, crackling fires and warm sweaters. The fall season makes me want to knit! This scripture has so much meaning for me. God knit me (and you) together in my mother's womb. Knitting is not a quick and mindless task. Knitting takes patience, time and a plan. You were not an accident! God created your inmost being. He took time with you and created you exactly the way you were meant to be. He held you and designed every part of you with his loving, capable hands. 


Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun Friday

Just some random fun Friday stuff for you.

My first printable! Sometimes Dan is working at the firehouse (like the year Mr. D was born) which leaves no one to pass out candy. I wrote a cheesy poem for you. {blush} It would work great to print, trim as necessary, put it in a page protector and leave it on the front porch with a bowl of candy!Trick or Treat

We received this game last year for Christmas and our kids love it! We decided it should be called something else though, our kids want to play at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I highly recommend it!

We have been saving our milk jugs and plan on making these this weekend!

We had this for dinner one night last week and I am already craving it again!

What are your plans for this weekend?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

41. reaching out to others
42. learning to love difficult people
43. changed hearts
44. an amazing church
45. good coffee
46. reconnecting with a friend
47. D coming home from a work trip
48. Doctor for SIL
49. God's unfailing love
50. funny remarks from kids
51. quiet Sunday afternoons
52. Rudy- inspirational people
53. good books
54. dancing trees
55. popcorn
56. "Costa Rica? We have that game!" Mr. D meant Pictureka
57. opportunities to grow
58. The sweetest words, "Mom, can I make lunch?"
59. The sound of a boy playing with his dad
60. lessons learned

What is on your list today? I would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Hello Friends! I have some more great insight from another She Speaks Sister! I am pleased to introduce Tammy. We didn't have a long conversation while in NC, but we did meet briefly. I hope you enjoy her answers and then go visit her blog.

1. What is your life verse? What does it mean to you?

Colossians 3:23,24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This verse is a constant reminder for me when I want to whine about having to do something, especially when I want to be doing something else. It causes me to remember that it's not me I'm working for or even others, it is the Lord.

2. I realized I was my mother when...

I always finish my salad first even when my hot food is there! She did this because "that's what you do", but I do it because I like the veggies the most anyway!

3. I know now, but I wish I knew then...

With having an overbearing, mean-sprited Mother-in-law that I am a valid human being and I should speak up for myself when someone seems to always been in attack mode. My husband wasn't responsible for "fixing" it, I needed to speak up from the very beginning, versus 34 years of pain.

4. What is one thing you do just for you to relax and refresh?

When I just need to slow down, refresh and re-connect I grab a good book, my Bible, a journal, a mug of tea (or sweet iced tea!) and plop down into a big comfy chair. I tune out my surroundings and become one with His Word and others' words through the written word. Love me some books!

5. By now, I thought I would...

Have resolved my weight issue. Also, that I would have been more confident in myself and who I was. (Thanks to the answer to #3, it often felt like one step forward, 4 steps back.)

6. In the midst of the chaos, a special trick that helps me cope...

I remind myself about Esther and Mordecai when he says to her in Esther 4:14b..
"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Then I think to myself..."this too shall pass, this too shall pass..."

7. If I could go back for one day...

I'd love to go back to Virginia and sit with my Grandma-Granny Ireson, my Grandma-Grandma Meade, my Mom and my daughter and ask all the questions I wished I would have asked them then but was too young to realize how I'd want to know now. I've always had the joy of being around both my Grandma and Great Grandma and was so thankful my daughter had that joy as well.

8. The best advice I ever received about being a Mom...

Always look for things to say "Yes" to rather than always having to say "No". Offer alternative opportunities when you do have to say "No". And "because I said so" is not an answer.

9. Don't worry about...

...the little stuff. Pick your battles. One thing I remember my Mom arguing with me about was what I wore in any professional photo or school picture. I always let my daughter pick out what she wanted for that picture. Now, looking back, we laugh at her personality breaking through each of those pictures and enjoy the happy faces because it didn't start out with an attitude and her unhappy in her clothes!

10. A perfect day for me...

Spending a day at the beach with my two favorite people in the whole world, my hubby and my daughter. With my toes in the sand, a book in my hands at water's edge...ahhhh - paradise this side of heaven!

You can find Tammy seeing humor and laughter in every aspect of life and then telling all about it on her blog: http://tickledpinktammy.blogspot.com.  Tammy’s rough childhood as a lonely, only-child who received much criticism from family is the driving force of her passion to always encourage others and make them smile.  She is a Christian who resides in Ohio with her husband of 30 years, Larry.  They have a grown daughter, Kristen, and a 4-pound Teacup Yorkie, Toto.   You can also connect with Tammy on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tickled-Pink-Tammy/140968045978968


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday

21. new ideas
22. new recipes
23. a hesitant boy eating new food and liking it!
24. kids entertaining themselves
25. kids eager to learn and ask questions
26. great coaches
27. healing in sight
28. Patient God, always teaching
29. Consistant work
30. gifts from unexpected places
31. smell of cut grass
32. freedom
33. people who believe in a cause
34. inspiration
35. sound of leaves rustling
36. a healthy body
37. forgiveness
38. new friends
39. learning new things
40. deciding to change and old {bad} habit

What was on your list this week? I would love to hear some of them!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mama Always Said

I am so pleased to introduce you to my mom, Helenann Steensen! We had a conversation a few years ago about all of us getting older, she said, "I wonder when my wisdom is going to kick in? There is so much I still don't understand at my age." Ever since that conversation, when one of us does something mildly brilliant {LOL} we say, "hey, your wisdom is kicking in!" Makes us laugh!

I really have learned so much from my mom. I am grateful for all she has taught me. I truly appreciate her as my mom and even more as my friend. 

1. What is your life verse? What does it mean to you?

John 3:30 ~~ “He must become greater; I must become less.”

As I aged, I thought I would grow up and out... Well, I have indeed grown out, but I am still trying to grow up... I am still the major roadblock to God’s plan. I work daily to make His will -- my will .... The days He is greater in my life are the days that I have the greatest peace!

2. I realized I was my mother when...

I realized I was my mother when I first successfully used “the look.” Growing up, I promised myself that I would never do that to MY kids! But I discovered that “the look” eliminated embarrassment in public! And “the talk” came later in private. Once again, my mother was right.

3. I know now, but I wish I knew then...

Everyone talks/warns about the terrible twos, the independent teens, the challenge of discipline, the cost of education...etc. No one tells you that one day your children will grow up and move many miles away or even to other states!

4. What is one thing you do just for you to relax and refresh?

My morning devotion and prayer time when I take time to sit with God, get lost in His Words, His embrace and His love. That time brings me wholeness and renewal. It pulls me back together when the world and my own flesh threaten to tear me apart.

5. By now, I thought I would...

BE MATURE.... walking steadily and surely in His footsteps without wavering and with increased wisdom and knowledge. Now I know that maturity is recognizing how immature I am and how much I need to learn and grow!

6. In the midst of the chaos a special trick that helps me cope...

Repeat.... “Your will (not mine) be done, Lord.” That means I have to Stop! Be Silent! Humble Myself (usually my pride is getting in the way again). Ask God to take over, teach me, lead me...

7. If I could go back for one day...

I would spend more time communicating to my (or each) child the special and unique gifts God has given to them. I would end everyday, during each child’s prayer time, thanking God for their uniqueness and the gift of their presence on this earth.

8. The best advice I ever received about being a Mom...

You are the model your children will follow. Don’t just say it! You must live it! Second by precious second of each and every day!

9. Don't worry about...

Don’t worry!!! God is in charge. God has a plan. He wins every battle.

10. A perfect day for me...

Being with my family! Spending time together and rejoicing in God’s many gifts! Sharing life, laughter, tears, love and of course giving LOTS of hugs. We are a touchy-feely group!

Thank you for doing this Mom, you are the best! I love you!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Marvelous Memory Monday

1. What are some things you do to win the approval of people?

2. What are some things you do that please God?

3. How can we tell the difference between pleasing God and pleasing people?

3. What is one thing you can do today that will please God?


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday

In July, I had the priveledge of seeing Ann VosKamp in person at She Speaks. I wanted to start my gifts list, but kept putting it off for one reason or another (none of the excuses legitimate). I finally started and decided I would share it here. You can read more about Ann and her New York Bestselling book at her blog. Ann shares her list on Monday, but around here, that is our Scripture day, so we are going to do Thursdays. That's the beauty of my own blog, I get to make the rules!

1. little boy imagination and creations
2. cozy rainy days
3. first hugs of the morning
4. silly dogs that don't like to run
5. leaves turning colors
6. a hard working husband
7. building with legos
8. a Mom that cares
9. a clean house
10. a dirty house
11. fresh baked muffins
12. busy kids
13. piles of laundry
14. chatter
15. a fall breeze
16. a concerned daughter
17. laughter
18. silliness
19. board games
20. encouragement from a friend

Please leave a comment and share some of your list!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Give Away Winner!

I'm a little late, but I didn't forget!

The winner of the book and magnets is...

Congrats! Please send me your address and I will get these right out to you.


Mama Always Said...

I love talking with other moms; listening to their stories, hearing their ideas and solutions... it fills me up! I always come away with wonderful tips or encouragement. I thought it would be fun to share some things here. So this is a first in a series. I sent a list of questions to some of the wonderful women in my life and asked for their wisdom. I am so excited to share their responses with all of you!

I am pleased to introduce you to my friend Danielle. God brought us together in North Carolina at She Speaks. Although she didn't know it (or maybe she did), she was part of God's plan for me this summer. Danielle has a heart for pouring Truth into our young girls and her ministry is similar to the one God placed on my heart. We became good friends during those three days as I asked questions and listened intently to her responses and wisdom. I hope you enjoy learning from Danielle and what she has to share from her journey.

1. What is your life verse? What does it mean to you?

Ezekiel 36:26 ~~ Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

No matter how much I've messed up, how hardened my heart has gotten, God WILL remove that stubborn part of me and give me a heart that's tender and a spirit that's willing. Amen!

2. I realized I was my mother when...
Actually, I realized I was worse than my mother when I wouldn't allow my daughter to go to a friends house without knowing every single detail about the childs family and home. Well, really, she's only been allowed to go to about 3 different homes. LOL Bless her, Mama is very protective.

3. I know now, but I wish I knew then...
Loving your child is the most rewarding and yet painful thing you'll partake in in life.

4. What is one thing you do just for you to relax and refresh?
Sit outside and read a book. No distractions. No thoughts except for whats going on in the characters lives. Or, writing my own characters.

5. By now, I thought I would...Have a more consistant walk with the Father.

6. In the midst of the chaos a special trick that helps me cope...
Close my eyes and repeat over and over-- Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

7. If I could go back for one day...
I don't think I'd really change anything because it's all lead me to where I am today. Disappointments. Heartache. Triumphs. Failures and all.

8. The best advice I ever received about being a Mom...You're not perfect. And neither will your child be.

9. Don't worry about...
The small stuff. Spilled milk can be cleaned up. Enjoy each moment. Hug your precious one(s) alot. Cuddle. Giggle and LOVE.

10. A perfect day for me...
Relaxing with my husband and daughter. Doing simple things like walking during a beautiful fall day with the beauty of God's creation around us. Holding hands. Laughing. Play fighting.;-) Sometimes just sitting with them in silence. Just to know they are there and no words need to be spoken.

You can read more by Danielle on her blog.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Marvelous Memory Monday

Happy Monday my friend!

Please print as many copies as you would like. Post on your mirror, kitchen sink or desk and memorize with us!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

It is finished!

I can't believe the 31 days of Standing in the Gap is finished. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement! It is so nice to hear from you.

As promised, I have a give away:

This fantastic devotional book is perfect for the busy coffee-loving mom (and those who prefer Chai :) It is quick, fun and easy to identify with. I loved it!

The winner will also receive:

Four tile magnets. Handmade by me with four different scriptures.

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment, or if you subscribe, respond to the email. I will be drawing the name at random on Wednesday morning.

Also, I am working on the .pdf of the prayers. I will post it as soon as it is ready.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Standing in the Gap Day 31- Inheritance

Photo by Stuart Miles

I praise you God for your wisdom and love. I know you only want what is best for us. Your Word says the children will feel the effects of the fathers sins to the third and fourth generations. It is for freedom that Christ has set (Name) free. By faith in Jesus, (Name) will receive an inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Name) will stand firm, and will not be burdened by a yoke of slavery that could be inherited from previous generations. (Name) is in Christ, therefore, he/she is a new creation: the old is gone, the new has come. Jesus, thank you for binding up the brokenhearted, for proclaiming freedom for the captives and releasing prisoners from darkness. Thank you for love that endures forever. Amen.

Exodus 20:5
Proverbs 13:22
Colossians 1:12
Galatians 5:1
Isaiah 61:1
2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Standing in the Gap Day 30- Temptation

Credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Thank you Lord for a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. I declare (Name) will be strong in the You and in Your mighty power so that he/she can take a stand against the devil’s schemes. (Name) will be self-controlled and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (Name) will resist him, standing firm in the faith, because You God will not let (Name) be tempted beyond what he/she can bear. Thank you God that when (Name) is tempted, You provide a way out. I praise you for your unfailing grace and mercy. Amen.

Psalm 19:13
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Ephesians 6:10-11
Hebrews 4:15
1 Peter 5:8-9

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Standing in the Gap Day 29- Talent

Photo by S Braswell
Lord, thank you for calling (Name) into the body of Christ, where you have prepared a special place for him/her. As each part does its work, the body of Christ grows and builds itself up in love. I decree that when (Name) is in relationship with you God, he/she will know his/her part in the body. Open my eyes to (Name)s gifts and talents so I may encourage him/her. I declare whatever (Name) does, whether in word or deed, it will be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. As (Name) identifies and refines his/her gifts they will be used to serve others, faithfully administering grace in its various forms. (Name) will use his/her talents with the strength You provide, so that in all things You may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 12:12
1 Corinthians 12:27
Ephesians 4:16
Colossians 3:17
1 Peter 4:10-11


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