Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The worst and best of years


As 2014 draws to a close, I can't help but think back on all that took place in the year now ready to be filed away as past. It's amazing the memories that a single year holds: beach vacations, road trips, weddings, little brother's graduating, family events, days filled with gardening, playground visits. A life filled full. 

Although 2014 was filled with so much undeserved joy and happy memories, I look back on tear stained journal entries and see how God became real to me in 2014, not through the easy moments, the happy memories, or the vacations, but through the pain and heartbreak. This year my heart was broken like never before as the Lord gave and then took away. But I have learned in the pain to praise the name of Jesus like never before (Job 1:21). 

My heart was so broken that I could not even write it. I tried over and over to share my pain with the world, but words were never good enough. And so I cried only to my Jesus, because he heard my tears and felt my heart when words failed me. 

Now as I look through a dozen unpublished posts written with heart breaking, I finally feel ready to publish. But I no longer write to share the pain but to share the joy. The joy I have found in knowing that God is faithful, not just when life is simple, but more so when life came crashing down around me.

My plans for my happy life have failed. But I am now experiencing a happiness not found in a successful life, but found in the delight of my God.
Oh the sweetness of such a life lived. 

I embrace the words of this song as an anthem for my year and praise the one who loves me enough to ruin me that I may know Him. 
I come, God, I come. I return to the Lord, the one who's broken, the one who's torn me apart. You struck down to bind me up. You say you do it all in love that I might know you in your suffering. 
Though you slay me, yet I will praise you. Though you take from me, I will bless your name. Though you ruin me, STILL I will worship, sing a song to the one who's all I need. 
  "Count it all JOY my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." -James 1:2-3

And so I count all of 2014, not just the easy days, as joy, and claim it as the worst and best of years because through the painfully ripped holes in the canvas of my life, I have caught glimpses of the beauty of God. 
"See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have not stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?" -Julian of Norwich 
As I enter 2015, I have my plans, goals and resolutions (which I am confident will fail!) and so I put my hope in the one who never fails because as He has planned, so shall it be.
"As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand." -Isaiah 14:24

Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mommy Moments #127

Welcome to Mommy Moments! We hope you all a Merry Christmas week and had a week filled with wonderful memories! Last week we had well over 100 great posts. Woohoo! Let's keep it up by sharing and promoting Mommy Moments and the wonderful community we have here! I have enjoyed getting to know all the new mamas linking up and sharing their lives with us! I can't wait to hear more from you all again this week!

Motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its laughs. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!




It's no surprise that the top viewed post this week belongs to our lovely mama Sarah from The Not Quite Military Wife. She recently welcomed sweet baby Aria Colette into the world and she is absolutely perfect! Make sure you stop by to congratulate Sarah and the rest of our new Mommy Moments babies! We are in love with all these new sweet faces around us :)



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The Not Quite Military Wife


A  Beautiful Ministry

Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 


Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

The Life Of Faith
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P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

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Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mommy Moments #126

Welcome to Mommy Moments! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas week and hoping your days are filled with wonderful memories! Last week we had some great posts...let's keep it up by sharing and promoting Mommy Moments and the wonderful community we have here! I have enjoyed getting to know all the new mamas linking up and sharing their lives with us! I can't wait to hear more from you all again this week!

Motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its laughs. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!




The top viewed post this past week belongs to Amanda from Tickled Pink and her 20 Week Pregnancy Update! You're halfway there, Amanda! We are excited to follow along with you in your pregnancy and are sending you prayers and best wishes! Thank you for linking up with us!
20 weeks pregnant blog bump date


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The Not Quite Military Wife


A  Beautiful Ministry

Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 


Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

The Life Of Faith
<div align="center"><a href="http://the-life-of-faith.blogspot.com//search/label/mommymoments" title="The Life Of Faith"><img src="http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k537/faithkonrath/cfa5ba11752f4e898055d03d33cf24e0.jpg" alt="The Life Of Faith" style="border:none;" /></a></div>



P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

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Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mommy Moments #125

Welcome to Mommy Moments! Last week we had some great new link ups! Let's keep it up by sharing and promoting Mommy Moments and the wonderful community we have here! I have enjoyed getting to know all the new mamas linking up and sharing their lives with us! I can't wait to hear more from you all again this week!

Motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its laughs. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!




The top viewed post this past week belongs to Baldwin Brood and her post 40 weeks! Isn't Allie's 40 week bump adorable? Hoping that she is holding her baby by now and if not, hang in there Allie! We're thinking of you and praying for you. We can't wait to meet your sweet bundle!



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The Not Quite Military Wife


A  Beautiful Ministry



Picture

Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 


Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

The Life Of Faith
<div align="center"><a href="http://the-life-of-faith.blogspot.com//search/label/mommymoments" title="The Life Of Faith"><img src="http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k537/faithkonrath/cfa5ba11752f4e898055d03d33cf24e0.jpg" alt="The Life Of Faith" style="border:none;" /></a></div>



P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

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Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Teaching your kids about Jesus at Christmastime


I love traditions, especially at Christmastime. This year, however, I am learning to look at our traditions in a different light as I want to make them meaningful for our two year old. I want everything we do at Christmas to point to Jesus.

When asked what we are celebrating at Christmas, I don't want my daughter to have any confusion whatsoever. It's all about Jesus. 

I know that most Christian parents desire the same thing for their kids, so I wanted to share a few of the things we are doing and have already done this Christmas to teach our sweet pea about Jesus' birth.

Now I know many of you will laugh at me and think I'm silly for explaining these things to a two year old, but honestly, I don't care! It has amazed me at how much my daughter retains from the "grown up" conversations I've had with her. Nothing warms my heart more than to hear my daughter thanking Jesus for the birds, the clouds, and other beautiful things she sees. She does that all on her own because I've told her that God made all those things for her to enjoy. Amazingly enough, her innocent heart understands that and is grateful to God. I learn so much from her response to what I tell her about God. So here are just a few of the ways we hope to actively teach our daughter about Jesus this Christmas.

When we put up our Christmas tree this year, we included a special ornament: a large nail. You see, Christmas isn't just about Jesus' birth, it's also about the reason He came: to die. So we made a special moment out of hanging a nail on our tree and talked to our daughter about how a Christmas tree can remind us of the tree that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice on. It was actually a very meaningful moment for me as well. I don't typically associate sorrow with Christmas decorating, but thinking about Jesus death in relation to His birth really sobered me.

Christmas books are also a great way to remember Jesus. We have several books about the Christmas story as well as Christmas story books that point towards Jesus. The Tale of Three Trees would be a great book to read to your kids after decorating the Christmas tree! It's all about the trees that were made into Jesus' manger, boat and cross. 

Lights are a great way to remind our kids that Christ has called us to be the light of the world! We get to shine in the dark world all year long! This year I was also thinking about how when one bulb isn't connected right, yes just one bulb, the whole string often goes dark. What a great analogy for Christians that if we aren't connected to Christ in every way, we can't shine as brightly!

Letting a two year old "help" with wrapping presents is a disaster come to find out. It is not a good way to get in the Christmas Spirit, let me assure you! I still allow her to be a part of the gift process and explain to her that we give gifts as a symbol of the ultimate gift we are given at Christmas: Jesus. He gave us his LIFE and that is just mind blowing! We give gifts to honor that amazing gift!

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is watching our two-year old tear open gifts and seeing the look on her face when she sees her new doll, crayons, clothes, or whatever it may be. Pure happiness! As she is given her gifts, we want to teach her to be grateful for what she has been blessed with. We have decided not to tell her that her gifts are from Santa. She can play "pretend Santa" and we  encourage her to use her imagination, but at the end of the day, we want her to know that everything she has been given is from her Heavenly Father, and we want her thanking Him, not Santa. 

Those are just a few ways that we plan to use some common Christmas traditions to teach our daughter about Jesus' birth this year! I would love to hear your traditions and how you use them to celebrate Jesus! 

Just as a disclaimer, I don't think Santa is evil as long as he is adding to the worshiping of Jesus and not distracting from it. My husband and I have chosen to not make him a big part of our Christmas celebration so that we can focus more on what Christmas is really about. Just as I respect those who celebrate Santa, I ask that we be respected for our choice not to. 


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Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Growing Up Social, raising relational kids in a screen-driven world


                                                             Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World

I have often felt overwhelmed as a parent when it comes to making decisions regarding my daughter's screen time. When I have projects to complete, am working hard to get dinner on the table, or am running late for something, my life saver is often Curious George. It's hard for me to admit that because before I ever became a mother, I swore up and down that my children were not going to be little TV addicts. I think many parents today feel a sense of defeat when it comes to screen time for their kids. Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane have addressed that sense of helplessness in parents in their book Growing Up Social: raising relational kids in a screen-driven world. I am so excited to have been given a chance to read and review this book as it offered so much relevant information on how screen time really effects our kids, their brains, their friendships, their families and so much more!

Even though my 2 year old watches less than an hour of TV a day on average, it still somehow seems to control our home. It's the first thing she asks for when she wakes up, and what she asks for often throughout the day. I've noticed how addicting screen time can be even for my toddler. The more she watches, the more she wants to watch and the less time she spends coloring, reading and playing with her toys. As Chapman and Pellicane in Growing Up Social say, "Unfortunately, the more a child is involved in screen time, the less time there is for interaction with parents, siblings, and friends." This book really opened my eyes to the hold that TV, Ipads, Iphones and other screened items can have in a family. Not only did it open my eyes to some of the things I was allowing for my daughter that could have negative effects but it also offered reasonable solutions for breaking my child (and myself) from addictive habits!

I began reading Growing Up Social while I was on Thanksgiving break and visiting family. It was amazing to me to observe firsthand the hold that social media has on kids! These three busy toddlers were running around playing chase, hide and go seek, and all sorts of fun interactive games. But the minute the Ipad turned on, they sat as still as statues and were glued to the screen! Now, in this case, they only watched a show for less than an hour and spent most of the week playing and interacting with each other which is great! But unfortunately for a majority of children these days that is not the case!

What I loved about this book was that it didn't come across as judgmental. There is nothing wrong with kids watching TV, playing on Ipads or even on phones. My daughter has learned her entire alphabet from a game on my Iphone, no joke! But there is definitely a balance and the consequences of not finding that balance are detrimental to our children. 

Too often children are given screens to pacify and occupy them when it’s not an
emergency or special occasion. Instead of learning how to live in the real world of
communicating with people and occasionally feeling bored, they are given a screen world for
their entertainment pleasure. More and more studies demonstrate the adverse effects of screen
time on the brain and your child’s social and emotional development. (pg. 28)

Overall I think Growing Up Social is a very timely and necessary book for today. After finishing the book, I did not feel guilty or discouraged for the way I have handled screen time in our home, but I definitely was inspired to do things a little differently with my daughter and excited to see the positive impact that has on her!

I am excited to be offering all my readers a chance to win their own copy of Growing Up Social, raising relational kids in a screen-driven world. Enter below and share!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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