Wednesday, September 19

16 Things to Pray for Your Children

We all pray for our kids. But if you're anything like me, most days it's sort of a monotonous little chant of, "Lord, please keep them safe and healthy" Well, I know there are important things I should be praying daily over my children, but sometimes a detailed list doesn't spring to my mind as I'm sleepily tucking them into bed at night. 

So, when I listened to a sermon on this topic and printed out this fantastic LIST (I LOVE lists... :) I thought I should pass it along! This list is taken from a sermon by Mr. Tom Harmon- one of our favorites on

If you are not a member of embassy.... well- you REALLY should check it out!! But, you can also listen to sermons from Mr. Harmon for free on his website 

16 Things to Pray for Your Children

1. Their salvation
2. Their future mate
3. That they would fall in love with God's Word
4. That God would keep them from the evil one
5. That they would have a conscience void of offense before God and man
6. That their character would be more valuable to them than their credentials
7. That they would stand up for what's right even if it means standing alone
8. That they would be kept from the love of money
9. That they would be kept morally pure
10. That they would have the heart of a servant
11. That eternity would burn in their hearts
12. That sin would always be distasteful to them and that they would be easily broken over sin
13. That they would love each other
14. That they would trust God with their parents and not allow rebellion to set in
15. Regardless of hardship that they wouldn't become bitter against God
16. That our boys would be glad to be boys and our girls would be glad to be girls

I thought this was an incredible list, and I also added this one to my list: 
That they would be filled with and sensitive to God's spirit.

Tuesday, July 31


This blog began dailyish, quickly became weeklyish... and eventually turned into monthlyish. Well, this time it's almost been a whole quarter!!! It's not that I don't have things to blog about... trust me, there's ALWAYS  a ton of things buzzing through this brain that I'd love to share. It's just the sitting down, uploading the photos... you know, the tedious work of it all. ;)

Well here's what's new with me 
since 3 months ago:

We've been doing school work almost every day now. (Generally no more than an hour, tops.) Sometimes we just do pre-schooler work sheets and random learning stuff, and other times I pick a theme and go all out with it, doing a craft and maybe even a field trip. (We recently went to HMNS.) Ben is pretty good at counting to 40, and knows how to spell his name. (the short version :) So I'm pretty encouraged at this point!

I started volunteering with B2B- an awesome ministry showing God's love to forgotten teens living on the streets, in shelter, RTC's, foster homes & mental facilities. Check out their website HERE.

We ate a leisurely family breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Then rocked awhile...

I made this Brazilian Fish Stew TWICE! (I know, I know. Stew in the summer you say? We've gotten so much rain the past couple of months (praise the LORD!!!) that I've been in a comfort food mood. 
This is healthy, yummy, easy... 
oh, and did I mention it's NOT chicken or beef??? yay for that!
(no offense to you, chicken & beef. I couldn't live without you... my life is just screaming for variety right now ;)

Click HERE for this recipe
(It's great served over rice!!!)

We went to 2 Faith and Family concerts at the Astros games

We decided to get rid of commercial television AND the gigantic tv in the center of our family room. Now my living room looks like this:  :D

(yes, the lampshade was terribly boring and I had some white fabric lying around, so I kinda went a little crazy on it. Shabby Chic, no?)

Addy started wearing pig tails :)... and we went to this library a bunch...
(oh those store bought pig tail bows are SOOO tiny. But, don't worry. I've been making her some bigger ones ;)

We did Adventures on Promise Island VBS at church:

We took advantage of AMF's free summer bowling for kids with some pals...

And now for the


It's about my Adalynn. As you can see from this picture, she is growing up quite rapidly. This summer, she got weaned, got her bangs cut, wore pig tails... and it's only a matter of time before she is married off. :)

And well....

she is going to be a BIG SISTER!

Yes, you heard me right! We are pregnant with #3!!!

Ah well... that is what's new and wonderful with us right now. I'm feeling very blessed!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 4


About a month ago, Nick and I watched a seminar video on titled "Openness and Brokenness" by Paul and Jenny Speed.

Mr. Speed tells the story of how years of hidden sexual immorality had crippled his ministry and oppressed his family. God convicted him to be open with his wife about his problem- despite his fears that it would hurt her too much. He came to a point of brokenness about his sin, and realized that by covering up these "small" failings; he had unknowingly given Satan an entrance into his family; to bind them and limit their effectiveness for Christ. Was his wife hurt? Of course. Was it embarrassing for him to confess to his children? Terribly. Was it worth it? His powerful testimony leaves no doubt in my mind that it was. As the spiritual leader of his home, he knew his "umbrella of protection" over his family had some holes in it. Perhaps they were small compared to some other fathers he knew... but they were still holes.

He gave an illustration that greatly impacted me: Imagine a thief arrives at your neighbor's home to find the front door wide open. He plumages and wrecks the entire place; stealing everything of value. When finished, he proceeds over to your home. When he tries the front door, it's dead bolted. Having no luck there, he walks around the back; spotting a small crack in your bedroom window allowing him to enter.

Does the thief do any less damage to your house than he did your neighbors?? Of course not. He got in. That's all he needed.

Sometimes we brush off what we think are "small sins" in our life; (those "little cracks") believing they are insignificant in the scope of things... that we can "deal" with them secretly.

SECRETLY. That's the key word. Proverbs 28:13 tells us, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He loves it when he can convince us to deceive as well. Keeping secrets is an open door for him to oppress us. And we usually don't even realize we have just let him in. As children and teenagers, he tries to get us to keep secrets from our parents. As married adults, he wants us to keep secrets from our spouse.

I can't begin to tell you how big of an impact this message had on our marriage and our home. But the reason I'm writing today, is the subject of hypocrisy. Mr. Speed traced back his moral failings to the week before he got married. He viewed pornography, and kept it a secret from his then fiance. Something changed between them. He was no longer able to lead in their relationship. At the time, he wouldn't have dreamed of telling her the truth. He was raised by Christian parents who were in ministry. He knew he was supposed to look a certain way at church. He knew there were some things you didn't do in front of "church people". They thought they were raising him to be godly- but really, they had raised him to be a hypocrite- To pretend he was righteous, when really, there was sin in his heart that needed to be confessed. His father had never been open with him about his own problems of lust or immoral thoughts.... so he felt ashamed to admit to such things as a teenager.

Being open with our children, is one of the most important tools we have against the enemy. It cripples him. He has no entrance. 

Paul Speed related to his crowd that he believed the biggest problem he had faced was not lust; it was the desire to cover it up. It was hypocrisy. I began to pray that God would guard me and Nick against demonstrating and passing on a spirit of hypocrisy to our children.

Fast Forward 2 wks.

I'm sitting in Chick-Fil-A with my kids eating when I hear the man sitting behind me begin to raise his voice at his son. I couldn't help but glance back, (he was sort of making a scene). His eyes were boiling with anger as he started hissing out a stern warning through his teeth. "My Lord!" I thought. "I can't believe he's talking to his kid like that in a public place!"

Then, the light bulb went off.

If it's not okay to speak to your child like that front of people, it's not okay in private either. Do I yell at my kids in public? Never. Do I yell at them at home? .........   Let's just say I would be terribly embarrassed if all my training sessions were broadcast to the masses. I do lose my temper sometimes. I do discipline in anger sometimes.

It hit me like a brick. By disciplining them differently in public than I do in private; I am teaching my kids hypocrisy! Now, I'm not talking about spanking. It is important to be wise when spanking in public- although if the situation merits that action, I most certainly will do the job- (my child's soul is far more important to me that fearing what those around me will think or say.) But, God showed me a HUGE area in my life that needs altering. I do not want my children to learn a double standard from me- in ANYTHING! If I have to pretend my life is a reality tv show where people are always watching- so be it. By God's grace, I want my attitude towards my kids to be the same at home as it is in front of my pastor's wife. Always loving, always patient- while giving the correction they need and shepherding their hearts.

Monday, March 5

IBLP Seminar- God's Reward for Scriptural Disciplines

For those of you who haven't heard: the IBLP seminars (and a lot of other great videos) are now available to stream online.

The website is
The fee is $9 a month, or if you can pay $99 for a whole year.

This is such an incredible blessing to be able to access these great seminars and videos anytime we want, for a really small price- NEVER having to leave our house!
If you have never been through any of these seminars: I urge you to check it out! The Scriptural truths shared by Mr. Gothard have made a huge impact on my personal walk with the Lord, and my entire family. If you've been through them, but it's been awhile: I encourage you to do it again.
Each time I go through one of these seminars, I'm at a different place in life, and I am always challenged by the new things God reveals to me about myself and His Word.

Nick and I just started going through the Advanced Seminar today.
***just a tip: if you want to do a seminar from start to finish, I've found the easiest way to access the videos is type in the search box: "advanced seminar session 1" and it will come up.***
We'll be doing the sessions slowly. (He has to listen to the audio on his iPhone while driving & on breaks at work.) Here are a few notes on the session today and some things God has been dealing with me about:

God's Reward for Scriptural Disciplines

-Daily Bible Reading
(growth) 1 Peter 2:2
(purity) Psalm 119:11
(success) Psalm 1:2-3
(answered prayer) John 15:7
(health & discernment) Isaiah 58
(power) James 5:16
-Early Rising
(productivity) Psalm 57:8, 63:1
-Reading Revelation
(blessing) Rev. 1:3
(eternal fruit) Proverbs 11:30

There are many promises in Scripture. God delights in honoring His own Word. He simply wants us to take Him up on it and try it out. The list above are just some of the principles He's laid out for us and the rewards of following them. Nick and I have started some new things lately in our home and it feels so great to see the fruits of those things. But while Mr. Gothard read and explained this list in the session today, I not only recognized the things we WERE doing; I was painfully reminded of all the things we NEED to be doing!

With the intention of hopefully helping someone, and allowing all of you to hold me accountable... I'd like to share with you my successes and failings with this list of Scriptural principles.

-Daily Bible Reading
If you asked a mother, "How often do you feed your new baby?" and she answered, "Oh, about once a weeks or so..." You would obviously be appalled. I think God created our natural bodies to need food multiple times a day for a purpose. I think it's a parallel to our spiritual lives. We should be DAILY, and CONTINUALLY feeding on God's Word. When we do, the spiritual growth is apparent. I can completely tell a difference in my day when I do my devotion vs. when I skip it.
So, here's a small tip for you mothers out there: Me and Nick like to do our family prayer and Bible reading together and the breakfast table every morning... but sometimes it doesn't happen. If we oversleep a little or he has to go in earlier, I tend to just skip it altogether. God convicted me of this recently. It's better to do our morning "wisdom search" separately than not at all!

So- here's what I do. If Nick is already gone, I still (pray first) then read OUT LOUD the Proverbs (number of the day) and at least 1 Psalm. I let the kids eat while I'm reading and if Ben finishes before I'm done, I let him stay in his seat and color. (I tell him to draw words he hears me say.) I feel this discipline is not only great for their self control, but also trains them to sit quietly through church. Not to mention they are hearing the Word of God frequently at a young age. By the time they can actually understand what it means and read along, it won't be a new concept to them or a boring exercise.

This is something we JUST started. I told Nick, "Honey, I used to memorize Scripture ALL THE TIME when I was in school, but have really slacked off since finishing my studies." So we decided to keep each other accountable and make if a "couple's exercise". We pick a verse or passage each week, write it out on a flashcard, stick it to the front of the fridge and ask each other to quote it at the end of each day. First we just picked a random verse in Eph. Then we did "Roman's road" (the verses you need to know to lead someone to Christ), and next we're gonna do fruits of the spirit, the beatitudes... etc. Some verses we learned as kids are coming back to us rather quickly. But each night we quote the entire list of what we've worked on thus far so we won't forget them again.

***I recently made Benjamin a Scripture Memory book. (I looked for one to buy, but couldn't find the right thing so...I just wrote the verses down, drew pictures for them and stapled the pages together.) I noticed he had a great memory when he started quoting some of his favorite books to me... so I figured it was time to put it to good use. :) I made up hand signals to the Scriptures so it's more fun for him and we say the reference at the beginning and the end of the verse.***

It kinda goes without saying that if you're working on Scipture memory, you'll probably end up meditating on those verses. But, of course, I can easily fall into just memorizing something mechanically... so I do try to take time and really say the words... think about them... and pray them. Actually, sometimes I even sing them. There are so many praise songs written verbatim from the Psalms. The Maranatha singers do a lot of them. Check them out on Pandora. :)

*By the way, at the end of my devotion with the kids each morning: we end with songs- usually Sunday school songs with hand signals that are fun for them.

Well, I'm sure it's clear to all that I need to work on applying these things I'm reading, memorizing, & meditating on in Scripture. But, I must say, it is MUCH easier to apply these things when they are on your mind CONSTANTLY!!

I have really slacked in this area the past few years. I've used pregnancy and nursing as an excuse a lot... but truthfully, it will not hurt for me to skip at least 1 meal now and then. There are also other forms of fasting that I've felt convicted to start lately. Namely, television. My kids only watch clean, educational "good" programming & videos. But, it can still be on WAY too much if I'm not very careful. I have found that having the TV on all the time creates discontent in children. (i.e. if it's not on, they become bored quickly.) Fasting a day or a week here and there is something I am going to start doing regularly to keep us in check.

Sometimes a light bulb goes off in my brain while experiencing a delay or "boring" duty. "You could be using this time to pray," I feel the Lord say to me.
I just experienced this last night while standing by my baby's crib. She had been a little distraught, so I was standing where she could see me while she drifted off to sleep. Standing there with nothing to do, driving down the road with no other adults to talk to, or sitting beside my toddlers bed when he's having a rough night... those are all really good times to pray.

I do practice giving, but I need to do more- and not just when it's convenient for me.

-Early Rising
Definitely need help on this one! "Early Rising" for us wouldn't be the same as most people due to our different schedule... but I know going to bed earlier and waking up earlier encourages a more productive day. I can always see the difference when we're up an hour before we "feel like getting up". Punctuality (one of the 49 character qualities Mr. Gothard talks about) is related to this one. I have completely lost my punctuality since having children and God is really dealing with me to work on this.

-Reading Revelation
Not something I expected to be on this list, but Rev 1:3 says, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
I tend to gravitate more to other books of the Bible- ones that I can understand. :) But, there is spiritual blessing promised to those who read this book. I haven't read it in it's entirety in a long time, but I'm going to start this week.

This has been such a strong conviction for me personally for awhile now. It's a scary thing to really initiate a conversation about the Lord with someone if you've never done it. I'm trying to start small and work up my courage: like saying "God Bless" or making reference to how good God is when I having small talk with a stranger. I really need prayer in this area because I KNOW I am not yet making disciples like Christ called me to do.

Just last night me and Nick had a conversation about reaching out more to our neighbors. The Lord layed it on both our minds the same day that we could be doing more to get to know our neighbors and witness to them. Nick was like, "I know we've been taught that everyone is our neighbor... but if we aren't willing to befriend our physical neighbors that live right next to us... that's pretty bad!" I agreed, saying that God was dealing with me on that very issue. I admit, I don't even know all the names of the people in our cul de sac. Being a better neighbor is on our "to-do" list. Inviting them over when we have a game night with friends, bringing over some homemade baked goods to get to know them.... that's the plan. :)

Saturday, March 3

How to make your cricut mat sticky again!!

I have a Cricut that I share with my mom. I haven't used it in awhile. Wanna know why? Because the mat lost it's stickiness and I didn't want to shell out the 12 bucks.

Yep... I'm just that cheap. :D

Anyhow, I needed to use it again recently... and it dawned on me I should google and see if I could just make the old one sticky again.

First Tip: Wash your mat with dish liquid, water and a soft cloth. Most of your tacky surface is probably still there- it's just covered up with paper, dust & other crafty stuff.

Second Tip: Once the tacky really is gone, go out a buy a Zig 2 way glue pen (chisel tip).
(you can even use a coupon to buy it... unlike cricut accessories!)

Coat your entire mat with this pen, working your way from top to bottom in straight lines.
Allow mat to dry 15-20 minutes.
You may need to "set" your mat by pressing your hands all over it before it's first use.
Then, you're good to go!

Side Note:
Some people use Aleen's Tack it Over and Over glue (mixed half and half with water... apply with a sponge stick), or a spray adhesive. But, most people think the Zig pen is much better- even stickier than when the mat is brand new, actually!

oh yeah... I just found out about a software program called scal (sure cuts alot.) It allows you to hook up your cricut to your computer, use all your true type fonts and dingbats, and create your own customized look! It's about $75.

Be sure to get version 1 or 2. They are compatible with Cricut Personal, Cricut Expression, Cricut Create & Cricut Cake.

Wednesday, February 15

I am a Martha

My name is Martha. You might call me a "Type A" personality. I like things done a certain way. I like things in order. I am something of a "neat freak". My home is seldom dirty. I enjoy entertaining guests, but when I do, I want my closets organized, a scrumptious meal that turned out perfectly and everything shining.  I constantly strive to be the "hostess-with-the-mostess".

My sister Mary and I, entertain guests at our home quite frequently. It is, however, generally referred to as MY home. After all, I am the one who does everything. And so was the case with a recent visitor. A man of God we were both ecstatic to have in our home was coming to visit. Everything had to be perfect. I planned an elaborate meal, and made sure everything was spic and span. We were overcome with excitement when he arrived! His teachings were being circulated around town by various ones who had been to hear him speak. But, to be one-on-one, and speak with him personally... Just think of it! This was one person I HAD to impress. It's very important in my culture that a woman show the utmost hospitality to a stranger. As the day arrived, it was this thought exactly that rushed through my mind when I noticed my sister sitting at the feet of our guest. I thought she was disgracing herself. Did it not occur to her to help me serve this man? I forced a smile and I hinted at how I was trying to get the meal on the table. She did not rise. Ugh! How could she be so selfish as to put all the work on me?! In the past, I had frequently fought the idea that she was a tad bit lazy. But now... now I was sure of it. Here we were entertaining the most important guest possible, and she was not at all interested in feeding him- a weary traveler.

By now, you must know... I am speaking of Jesus. I watched from the next room as she listened to him speaking- her eyes wide with interest. What were they saying? I was missing it! That was it. I wanted him to reprimand her for not fulfilling her duties. I wanted him to appreciate my "servant's spirit". I rushed into the room and said rather pointedly, "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me."

His response was not what I expected. "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things." He replied. "But, one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Tears welled up in my eyes. He was right. I was troubled about many things. I was anxious. In my head there was an endless to-do list. I was neglecting the very reason why I was excited to see Jesus: to hear his words. From the moment he had arrived I had been hustling and bustling around trying to make everything perfect. And yet, the things with which I busied myself were all... just temporal. This house... these THINGS could be taken away from me. Mary had chosen to invest her time in something that could not. His gaze as he spoke those words to me was not one of judgement. I could see his compassion. I could feel his love for me. He wanted me to see what was important. He wanted me to understand the difference between earthly things and eternal things. Jesus saw my heart and wanted me to know I was missing out on something very important.

Have you ever been too busy to talk to Jesus? Have you ever used my excuse: that you were busy serving? Do you volunteer for every church project, try to fill every day on your calendar, and spend precious little time in communion with our Lord? Martha's personality seems prone to 'doing', while Mary's seems prone to 'being'. In faith, those are 2 sides of the same coin. Some of you resonate with Mary's personality. I, beyond any shadow of a doubt, resonate with Martha's. The first time I heard the above rendition of this story when I was 15, tears streamed down my face. I knew God was talking to my heart. He loves for me to serve others, but He knows that I get "cumbered" in much serving just as Martha did. I typically feel as if I am behind schedule before my day ever begins. God probably feels like He needs to tie me down for me to spend some quiet time with Him! The Lord is frequently reminding me to take deep breaths, soak in my surroundings, enjoy the moment I'm currently in... and sit at His feet.

Because I am a Martha, and I forget.

Picture Credit

Monday, February 6

More Activities for Toddlers

BRILLIANT idea I saw on Pinterest!!!

Simply squirt paint into large Ziploc bags (and seal them.)
Put a white piece of paper underneath, then use painters tape to put it on the table.
This mom used 2 different primary colors in each bag to teach an older child about color mixing.

This is the perfect mess-free activity to keep a kid interested for a couple hours on a rainy afternoon.
Leave it taped to the table for as long as you want... Just stick it in a drawer somewhere if you are cleaning up for company- then take it out again later :)

Simple. Cheap. Mess Free.
My kind of activity!

Here's a link to a huge list of other cool toddler activities I ran across:

Have Fun!

Thursday, January 19

Toddler Learning Games-Fun with Dominos

My family has always loved playing games together; including dominoes.
My mother tells everyone "I taught the girls to count by 5's playing dominoes!"
She's telling the truth!
Homeschooling in our house was pretty fun. :)

Benjamin LOVES it when he gets to play with an "adult" or "big kid" item.
(What kid doesn't? It's just more fun than their toys, right?)
So, I've been using his interest in our dominoes for some learning games.

We have the double-twelve set with different colors, so there's lots of opportunity for learning with these. While he isn't old enough to count by fives yet... he can practice matching up the identical sides, learning the unusual color names, and counting the dots.

Of course, I let him stack them, line them up, and build things with them as well. Our "learning sessions" are usually no longer than a couple of minutes. Then I go do a chore and let him "freestyle" it for 5 minutes or so. :)

I think it's great to give kids access to ALMOST everything.
(Not all the time, and not anything dangerous...)
But a kid's interest is always peaked when you show them something
"off limits".
Explain it to them, and let them touch it a minute. 
You have their attention and it's a fantastic teaching moment!

Let your toddler stir the pancake mix and watch you fry an egg. Let them put their own clothes in their drawer. Let them play with the dominoes. Let them TRY to sweep the floor.
If you're gonna teach them about table manners- bring out the fine china for a special dinner.

You know, the dishes that are for "special people"?

After all, who is truly more special than your little ones?