Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Great Products---Homeschool or Christian Tshirt Review/Giveaway

You can ask hundreds of homeschool parents why they do what they do and you might get similar answers or you might get hundreds of different ones. 

Ask a homeschool family what one of their top difficulties are and many, many times you are going to hear finances are a hindrance (especially since many are one income!).  

A common trait that you will often find is that they are frugal.  Granted, not every homeschool family fits this mold, but many do!  Either frugal by nature or frugal out of need.  

I'm a frugal, bargain shopper.  Zero doubt about that!  I LOVE when I find a deal that fits the wants or needs of our family!  

Let me share a HUGE deal with you....either if you homeschool OR if you just LOVE to wear shirts displaying Christian values!  

For real!

Lots of homeschool themed shirts in MANY different colors.  LOTS of Christian tshirts with amazing graphics, sayings, and scripture.  


$5.99 doesn't typically  go very far these days so this is a steal! 

I've been a customer of GREAT PRODUCTS for several years.  This just isn't a random review/giveaway post of a product I'm not personally familiar with.  Our family is a fan of their shirts (plus tote bags, bumper stickers, etc...).  I can not tell you how many times I've been stopped wearing homeschool mom shirts.  I've given several as gifts over the past couple of years.  Each year, the selection has gotten better and better.  We've bought many in the homeschool section and lots in the Christian section.  

Value + good quality + excellent selection + displaying Christian values/homeschool support + great customer service = repeat customer!  ME! 

I'm a frequent shopper with them even when their products aren't on such GREAT sale.  Even then, it's a great value. 

From experience, customer service is top notch.  Out of owning and gifting over 30 shirts, we've only had a problem with one and they IMMEDIATELY replaced it and were VERY professional in the process! 

We typically do our first day of school pictures wearing their shirts.  We started school early this year to allow for missing a good part of September due to travel and I didn't get a chance to order our fun back to school treats.  This sale definitely gives me the motivation to get an order in!  The only real problem is getting the kids (and myself!) to decide on which ones to buy! (Sigh....I won't talk about what it does to this mom's heart to look back and see how some have grown from toddler sizes to big kid sizes and some from big kids to small adult sizes....oh just fly by!)

I received a shirt of my choice earlier this week for review.  That THRILLED me because all of my shirts are now too big as the pounds are coming off.  It was such a blessing to get to try a smaller size to see if it would fit.  I chose a BRIGHT orange to try out some of their new colors. The color is DEFINITELY bright (wahoo!!!!) and the quality is still top notch!  (As a matter of fact, I think I will be reordering some of my favorites in new colors and sizes because so many of them have great meaning and I was sad to see them go!). 

They make great gifts.  ( kids usually find some of these in their Christmas gifts!).  Order before the 15th to receive the special $5.99 pricing! Some designs have already sold out and others are running low!  Great for teachers, Sunday School teachers/leaders, etc..!

One of you can receive a basic homeschool shirt of your choice! To enter, LIKE Great Products on facebook HERE.  Then come back and simply comment on this post (or the facebook link) and you will be entered to win.  Be sure to leave an email contact. Winner will be chosen at random (using on September 8th (comment must be received by noon CST).  

Thank you GREAT PRODUCTS for the opportunity to review, giveaway, and for continuing to be a company that is trust worthy and allows us to reflect our values!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not Enough With Him

This quote/picture showed up on my facebook feed yesterday.  A friend had posted it and let me just say...

It SPOKE volumes to my heart.

THIS is where I am.

THIS is exactly the message I needed to get in my heart.

I'm running on fumes.  Insomnia has hit, both from physical causes and from emotional situations that have been pouring in.  God has been at work in my heart so deeply that I've been unable to sleep at times. My heart is going in a million directions with countless things going on.


I've NOT been spending the time with Him that I need for my heart to be filled.

I've switched to survival mode, instead of thriving.

I've been praying (more often than ever it seems) which is GREAT.


I've not been in His word deep enough.

I've been spending time WITH Him, but not enough time learning about Him.

There is a big difference.

And it shows...

I've been unsettled.  Overwhelmed. Easily irritated. Off-balance.

Yes, I could make the excuses sound like true justifiable reasons.

Physically I am battling mild flare-ups.  No sleep.  Running in too many directions with too many expectations.

School is in full swing and with three kids that is not a small task. Littles are in and out of our home.  Parenting is not just a few hours a day job.  Running our home is constant.  Preparing for some big activities in the coming days and weeks.

Yes, that's true.

My sister of heart just moved to South Africa, nearly 9,000 miles and landed just a couple of hours ago. (Though they won't arrive at their final destination, on site, until tomorrow around lunch). I can't tell you how big my smile has been in the last couple of hours to have had REAL conversations with her and the feeling of how short those miles can be made to feel. The emotional roller coaster of this journey has been overwhelming, but nothing short of amazing (except the "see you later" part!....I'm still crying at the drop of a hat!).  It has been one of the single most amazing things for me to see God at work first hand.  Granted, this type of situation DOES leave me emotionally spent because my heart is so invested.  My husband getting up with me at 2:30 this morning to purposely pray for the last leg of their flight was just.... priceless.


I'm NOT spending the time I need WITH Him, JUST to be with Him.

And it shows....

Just like when Kevin and I get too wrapped up in the demands of life to spend quality time with each other, I fall apart.  Our relationship suffers.  I don't feel as confident or capable of handling curveballs.  I don't feel like I know him as much or that he knows me as deeply.  We suffer.

This quote reminds me of the fact that I'm feeling the effects of just not STOPPING and soaking in Him.  I try countless times, but I get pulled away.  (Hello, real world!!!!).  I can't let that continue to happen.  I have to TRULY let Him be the TOP priority or I will continue to feel off balance.

This afternoon I did what I seldom ever do.  I tossed away the "to-do" list of expectations and ended school early even though we weren't completely finished with what we needed to do and....

I slept.

It was necessary for the preservation of my sanity and the sanity of those that live with me.  :)

Though my physical needs have been greatly improved from that sleep, I'm now even more aware of the need to get back in CLOSE touch with Him.  Get in His word JUST for the desire of knowing Him.
I need less time with the world (even the good things!) and more of Him.  He ALWAYS has to be my first and foremost need....

Or it all falls apart.

I keep learning this lesson time and time again.  I can plan my day to the minute and meet EVERY single expectation on it, but if HE isn't that top priority....I've lost what is most important and my life becomes fruitless.

ALONE-YET NOT ALONE review/giveaway

I LOVE having the opportunity to review books, movies, etc.. with family values.

I LOVE it even more when it's something I am completely unaware of and have no preconceived notions about it.  An open slate.

I triple LOVE it when I finish a book/movie and have my faith strengthened and encouraged.

ALONE, YET NOT ALONE---delivered!

REALLY delivered.

Here I am, a mom that is quickly rolling into the end of her 30s and in the 45 minutes it took me to read a novel geared towards upper elementary, early Jr. High kids...I felt completely transported into the story, emotionally invested and YES crying like a baby by the end.

So, I'm sappy.  No big surprise there!

ALONE, YET NOT ALONE (Their faith become their freedom) by Tracy Leininger Craven is a zonderkidz book that takes place beginning in 1755 in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. It tells the story of two sisters that are kidnapped by Allegheny warriors and how their faith becomes their true freedom.  It is based on a true story of a family caught in the cross fire of the French and Indian War.

My thoughts on the book:  inspirational, engaging, gut-wrenching and FULL of faith!

As I first began the book, I was immediately swept up in the faith of the family described.  It has a feel of "Little House on the Prairie" and I'm such a huge fan of those books and shows. I LOVED the faith enriching moments that the parents shared with their family of four.

For example, the father with tender earnestness said, "Each of you will have times of testing in your life. But you must always remember---no matter how difficult the trial or how dense the wilderness---God will never leave you. If your hearts remain true, God promises endless blessings."

Could have stopped right there and I would have been a fan of the book!  Don't we ALL need these reminders whether we are 10 years old (like the book is targeted for) or 40!?

After the girls were kidnapped and the story took on a much more intense atmosphere, I loved reading how she remembered her family reading Scripture and how their faith became the anchor to help them survive such an ordeal in front of them.  One of the girls said, "Surely this trial is just for a season. All I need is the strength to endure---to see through the darkness of winter to the promise of spring," and remembered the calming voice of her father reading scripture and the teachings of her mother.

The entire story is woven together by the words of a beautiful German Hymn "Alone, Yet Not Alone".  I'd love to tell you how impactful the words of this hymn became and what an AMAZING part of the story it plays....


You'll have to buy the book and read it! Seriously.  I think it would be a disservice to retell the story without reading the book!

From the viewpoint of a parent: the ending left tears rolling down my face, but it also left me greatly encouraged in my life today.  This true story shows the impact that lovingly (not drilling!) teaching our children scripture, hymns of worship, and by embracing teachable moments that strengthen faith!  It reminded me of what may seem like a "little" thing we do, can truly have a GREAT impact.

My 11 year old son is currently reading the book.  His first response was extremely positive.  Keep in mind this is coming from an 11 year old boy! :)  He hasn't even got to the "meat" of the story, the most engaging parts, and he's already talking about things in the book.  I love that he's getting a glimpse into history and I'm praying that some of the more deep parts of faith penetrate his heart.

ALONE, YET NOT ALONE is also coming out in movie form September 27th.  The movie itself has received the Dove Seal of approval (FIVE doves for ages 12 and up!)  Due to the content nature (it is based on a true story during the French and Indian War which includes battles, kidnapping, murder, etc...) it will be rated PG-13, therefore our entire family won't be able to watch it, but I do look forward to sharing it with our older children! 

Watch the Movie Trailer:

A copy of the book is available for ONE reader (US and Canada only).  To be entered to win, simply comment on this post (or facebook link).  One reader will be chosen at random on September 6th (comment must be received by noon CST).  Be sure to leave a contact email!  Book is recommended for ages 8 and up (though I'd say 10 would be a better age!)----but even as an adult...I LOVE it.

*"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."*

Monday, August 19, 2013


My heart is currently in a, well,....let's just call it "soft" mode.
Ok, better yet, call it like it is....

I'm a basket case.

Yep, I said it.

This last weekend was jam-packed full of amazing things and God showed up countless times in mighty ways.  Even in the moments that I had dreaded.

Family time was TOP notch.  Couple time was BEYOND amazing and so important.  God did some refueling and renewing.

New life was welcomed.  My true sister-at-heart and her family was commissioned for their journey to South Africa and the "see you laters" were tough, but BEAUTIFUL.  Intimate worship with Kari Jobe side by side with my husband. An impactful chance to make a small difference as a family as we joined again this year in participating with a mobile food pack for Feed My Starving Children.  Chances to laugh around the table while enjoying those few chances to eat out as a family (this might have included a bit of dancing around the table and being silly).  And so much more...

Today was a rare day that just the boys and I were home and I had no "littles" to care for. (Though I DO love having was nice to just relax a bit.  I did find myself stopping MULTIPLE times to go check on a little and realize that no one was here! Habits are hard to break.)  We started the school day at normal time (bright and early), but we embraced the ability to just "relax" along the way.  Meaning that school took place in bed and Mom didn't get dressed until the books were almost wrapped up for the day.

I am trying to spend these few days of life at a slower pace (which my husband is laughing at me calling life "slow" while still homeschooling and keeping the house running) catching up on some tasks that tend to get put off or halfway done while trying to balance life.

Today I started thoroughly cleaning our master bedroom.  You know, getting ALL the corners, baseboards,ceiling fan and dusting EVERY little speck and item instead of hitting the most visible surfaces.

After the incredible worship of last night, I found my heart easily went to that mode very quickly as I turned on a worship CD and started cleaning.

As I came to a couple of items in the room, my heart began to be really worked on by the Holy Spirit.

As I dusted a special picture frame that holds a picture of my dear friend about to leave for SA---I had a mini meltdown.  OK---so maybe it wasn't so mini.  My heart is so FULL with the adventures ahead and how beyond amazing God has been in preparing for their journey.  Yet, oh how my heart hurts at the physical distance (just a few in 9,000).  The Holy Spirit washed over me reminding me that it's ok to be temporarily sad over the "see you later", but the true focus is on the journey ahead.  He is ALREADY there.  HE is the God of angel armies that has gone before and the way is already prepared.  He also reminded me that He has already been preparing US for this day.  He also reminded me that someday we will be on the other side of the world with them.  We know it to be true.  We know that calling is waiting for us.  We just don't know if it's for a visit or for longer term.  THAT is something we must wait for Him to reveal.  Beyond that, I'm confident that miles aren't going to matter in the depth of our friendship.  No doubt.

Then after I pulled myself together and got back on task, I came to two items that reminded me of something we talked about at church yesterday and that we've been reading about in "Not a Fan"....

These current prayer focus (though we have a much longer, more detailed list hanging in the foyer) and the gifts that Kevin and I gave each other on our wedding night.


A little, almost silly sounding word.

I've often said "yada, yada, yada" when referring to someone talking too much or to not say the rest of a story or something.

Though I honestly never knew it the context that the Bible uses it or the true meaning of the word.

Yada- to know completely.  To know and be known.

Our prayer focus right now, is yada.

The gifts we gave each other on our wedding night showed that we had begun to "yada" each other in a non-physcial way.  I may have only been 20 when we married.  We may have only known each other a short time.  We married one year to the date of our first date. Yet, Kevin already knew my heart and me in a deep way and I him.  Our gifts showed that.  He knew the impact handwritten letters meant to me (either sending or receiving) and he gave me a cherry letter box that pretty much remains the only wedding gift not worn-out, destroyed, out of date, or broken! He knew me.  Our Bible showed how much we valued the role of God in our lives (it still looks fairly new---only because it's not the ones we use on a daily basis....neither one of us wanted to give up our own personal Bibles with countless notes and markings). Granted, we now know each other much more than we ever dreamed and in ways we didn't know possible. We tend to know more about each other than we know about ourselves.


Yada can mean physical intimacy when in some contexts, yet in the others it means the deep intimacy with another person, what goes well beyond the physical aspects (though a true physical relationship encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual). It means to know someone completely and to be known completely.

Specifically: God.

That is our desire.  That is the plea of my heart.

Yet, I stopped short today when I came across the items as my hands rubbed across them to shine them, dust them, and rearrange them.

My heart was asked some questions?

Do you know me? Do I know you? Are you seeking me?  Do you love me above all else?

I thought of Kevin.  I can answer YES instantly to all of those questions and know that he would answer the same to my asking.  We are blessed by a deep, ever-growing relationship that knows "yes" is the answer to these questions.

I love him more than life itself.  I value him above all things.

Do I love God more?
Do I know God more?
Do I give more to God than anyone or anything else in my life?
Do I seek him more than anything else?

Is HE my first love? Is HE above ALL else?

Are we living in a true yada relationship?

I must say....being honest... I couldn't give the answer to all of those questions the way I wanted to.

He's so very important to me.  I do seek Him and want to be known by Him.

Yet, I know that many things come in the way.  I still find myself reluctant to give him all of me---that last little percentage that I don't want to let go of.

But that's not yada.

That's a yada want to be. That's a growing relationship.  Not a yada one.

Oh how I seek and want the answers to be yes.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Am Second

This is a bit of a different post.  There's no give-a-way involved (though I did receive a tshirt and bracelet for participating). There's no request for signing up for something so that I can "earn" something. 

It's just about  "I Am Second" and my hopes that you will check out this website and let it change your heart.

I've seen the emblem floating around...the "I Am Second" chair with someone sitting in it talking about some aspect of their Christian walk wearing a simple black shirt.

I've seen a few videos floating around on facebook or in emails over the last several months.

I've watched a few and found them powerful. 


I didn't know about the amazing movement and website that it encompasses. 

As part of this review opportunity, I was encouraged to go to the website, watch a few videos and link to my favorite. 


Should have been.

Instead, I found myself drawn in.  Soaking in video after video.  Choosing a favorite was next to impossible.  Spend a few minutes, choose one, write a post.  Move on.

Should have been simple. 

It wasn't.

Because I keep coming back and back again. 

First off, I was impressed with the website.  It's organization tops any other website I've frequented.  The videos are arranged by topic.  By struggle or by need.  Dealing with cancer or grief?  It's there.  Facing recovering from an addiction?  It's there.  Need encouragement in marriage? It's there.  Dealing with anger. It's there. Looking for purpose? It's there.  Learning the impact of forgiveness.  It's there.

Simply put...

GOD is there...

In the hearts of those on the videos that share their hearts. Their struggles.  Their victories.  The lessons they've learned.  The ways to put God first, yourself second.

It's there.

It's raw.  It's real. It's honest.  It's transparent.

Though I found countless videos that I loved and I STILL continue to watch more and more, a couple of my favorites are Alex Kendrick  and Bailee Madison.  Though Alex's video was filmed before Courageous became a hit, I LOVED watching his honesty about praising God through the hard times and the good times.  Trusting Him when situations don't necessarily seem possible to work out.  I loved his honesty about struggling in his own marriage while at the same time writing Love Dare and filming Fire Proof.  I love Bailee's. First of all, she's just so stinkin' adorable and precious.  However, there is an incredible amount of depth and wisdom packed into a little girl. 

There are many "famous" faces to watch and learn from.  Being originally from the Nashville area and growing up and attending college in Nashville, I really loved connecting in with the Nashville group and even seeing some familiar faces (such as Rudy Kalis).  I loved Bethany Hamilton and Scott Hamilton.  Sports fans will find many familiar faces (Tony Dungy for example).  Famous faces or just the neighbor next door.  All teaching about being second.  God first.  God in control.  Healing.  Inspiring. Life-changing.


You can also choose to participate in a program called "Seconds Change"---

Give Change, Make Change- Many more stories are waiting to be told.  You can help.  Commit $2 every Tuesday to build film funds, and your contribution will be used to develop, produce and promote new films. Join the project and become an I am Second insider with access to exclusive content via Facebook. (It comes to just over $8 a month!).

There's also a challenge (that I've signed up for) for 22 days.  Watch the video of the day.  Share it with someone God puts on your heart.  Simple, yet impactful. 

Check it out. 

But perhaps you might want to grab some tissue first.  They are powerful!

Friday, August 9, 2013


Today is Friday.

It's the end to a physically exhausting and difficult week.

It's the end of an amazing first week of school (homeschooling 2nd grade, 6th grade, a Junior, and tot school).

I decided to "break" our new household rules of not eating fast food.  (I am trying to avoid it, but not completely psycho over occasionally grabbing it).  The kids wanted to get out and celebrate a success. They were wound up and HYPER and I thought my sanity could use a few minutes of everyone strapped in seatbelts and child safety seats! (Just being honest).

While I was in the drive thru, waiting with what seemed like a major crowd on lunch break with the same idea I had....

Gidget was being noisy.

Gidget happens to be the name we gave the family vehicle. 

Not sure why we chose that name, but none-the-less, when we paid her off a couple of months ago, she got a new name. 

Just us being silly. Just us doing a bit of celebrating in gratitude.

So, I was sitting in line and Gidget was squeaking.  It's nothing major, just an annoying belt that needs adjustment whenever my "fix almost anything" husband gets a chance to slow down and do it.  It isn't a top priority, just something on the ever growing list.

As I was sitting there, I started thinking about all of the things "wrong" with Gidget.  She is rusting (hello IL winters with CONSTANT travel in salt!) in a few places.  She's not as clean and shiny as she once was.  She has TONS of miles.  She's had lots of repairs.  She's got a few little dents and dings and scratches (hello boys and bicycles!). The list goes on....

She also has been reliable.  She's been around for the long haul.  She's been consistent.  She's taken a lot of abuse.  She's been worn out and overworked.  She doesn't always get the care and thanks she deserves.

As I was sitting there, the Holy Spirit was working in my heart again.

Faith---it starts out shiny with lots of possibilities. 

Hard times come and you have to make a choice to stick with it or run the other direction.  (Make repairs, fix the problems or trade in the vehicle.)

Faith can have its ups and downs.  Highs and lows.  Sometimes you have to hold onto faith because life can get tough.  Really tough. But it is an absolute life-line when you stick with it!

You have to take care of your faith.  You have to take care of a vehicle or it doesn't get you to where you need to go. When the shine begins to dull or when the inner mechanisms are needing maintenance, you have to take care of it.  With faith, you have to feed it.  Feeding your heart with The Word, being in communication with Christ, being involved in serving, being actively involved in spiritual warfare, making choices that keep your heart pure, and repenting from sin----are all just some of the ways to keep the heart of faith maintained. 

Some days I feel like poor Gidget sounds and how she looks.  Sometimes it's of my own doing.  I get caught up in my own fleshly desires or sin.  I'm not obedient.  I get stained.  I get dents and dings.  I don't do the required maintenance.  My exterior doesn't shine and neither do my mechanics.

Some days, I don't shine because of other things out of my control.  Just like poor Gidget, dents come along.  Malfunctions happen.  Parts wear out.  Others don't take care of me. I'm running on an almost empty tank.  Some people come crashing into me without regards to looking first.  I get rusty because of the circumstances around me out of my control. 

But.....oh but....

Christ comes.  He fills up the tank.  He can scrub me clean by what he did on the cross.  He extends grace.

We can give Gidget a little TLC and she keeps on ticking.  She keeps on rolling along.  We can shine her up (and oh does that make this Momma HAPPY!!!!!).  We can scrub her spots.  We can make her smell good.  We can remove the junk. 

We can even try to camoflauge some of her flaws, though we know they are still there.  Just like my own heart, it has scars.  It has wounds.  But it heals with the right TLC.  It heals when forgiveness is extended.  It heals when Christ steps in and does the impossible.

Oh taught me so much today!!!! 

Maybe you need some extra TLC ASAP....because she sure are a valuable one! ;)

He's NOT the Enemy

I believe in honesty and transparency....authenticity.

Sometimes life isn't as pretty as the picture we paint.
Sometimes we find ourselves wishing we could have a do-over.
Sometimes the kids act in ways that make us cringe.
Sometimes our spouse steps on our toes and we want to stomp back.
Sometimes WE act in ways that make us cringe.

Life is sometimes a mess.  Really messy.

I have an amazingly, beautiful, jaw-dropping marriage.  Seriously.  I'm blessed.

Those that know us (as in REALLY know us), know that it was far from being that way for a long time.  Which is what makes our love story so precious. Redeemed. Restored.  Beyond our wildest imaginations.

It's a treasure.

However, we are two very imperfect people. One from Mars. One from Venus.  Two sinful, selfish people that can clash.  REALLY clash.  Over the most insignificant things.  (Reminds me of Warren Barfield's "pretzel" story that led to his writing of "Love is Not a Fight" that he shares on the Love Worth Fighting For marriage enrichment tour with Kirk Cameron as speaker....which by the way tops our list of HIGHLIGHTS of things you must attend!).

Well, we've had a "bit" (translate HUGE) of that clash going on this week.

This isn't a matter of he said, she said, he did, she did, he didn't, she didn't, she should have, he should have.........
That's not details for the world or even important.

What's important is this:

When those days come and they DO come even to the happiest couples...

Something important to remember is the reminder that finally sank into my heart and allowed the glue to be put back together in our Stronger. Together lifestyle.

He is not the enemy (She is not the enemy).

It's not a battle against each other.

It's a battle against the one that wants to destroy our homes, our witness, our love, and our families.  That enemy knows which buttons have the most impact of destruction.  That enemy knows which weaknesses to prey on.  He knows which things you can normally overlook or easily forgive and how to twist them so they BLOW UP!

When you remember who the enemy is, it's MUCH easier to end the battle in front of you.  Time to change the tactics of warfare. When you can stop battling each other over whatever the infraction may be or may have been PERCEIVED to be (that typically is a KEY difference!), it's much easier to come back together on the same team.

Otherwise, it's too easy to stay in a battle.  A battle that doesn't really need to be fought.

Thankful for the reminder to my heart last night that if I stop battling my husband and attack the real enemy, the battle ends or at the very least can come to a cease-fire!  Besides, who wants to live in the middle of an artillery zone with a target on their back (unless it is with super soakers or nerf THAT is fun!).

Just wish I had remembered THAT before I came unglued.


Anyone else in need of a do-over some days?

Tyndale Rewards

I love reward programs.
I love free.
I love Christian books.

(If you know me in real life, you know that my saying I love books is an understatement like saying that Cookie Monster likes cookies!)

Put those together and BAM! I'm in love with Tyndale Rewards!

The only other rewards program that might be this high on my list of LOVE is Polar Pop rewards (which my card doesn't get used multiple times daily like it used to!) and of course the ever popular ice cream shop card! :)

Tyndale publishers is one of the top companies of the books sitting on my shelves so I know they produce incredibly inspiring, biblically based products!

How do you earn points?

Join, refer, answer surveys, review products, etc....

What do you get in return?


Points that can be redeemed for FREE (did I mention FREE) books, Bibles, children's products.

Now here is the plea from me...

If you sign up from this personalized link three things happen:

1) You'll begin earning points.
2) I'll be earning points.
3) I'll be increasing my chances to win a KindleFire being offered to the blog/individual that participates (through the review network I participate in) that refers the most members by August 30th.  There are only a maximum of 100 of us, so our family does have a 1/100 shot.  OK---reality is, I'm low down on the size list so I'll probably rolling in at 100....but it doesn't hurt to wish, right! :)

(Disclaimer:  the personalized link gives ME credit for your referral....just wanted to fully disclose that in honesty.)

Now back to regular programming....or blogging world that is.....infomercial over. :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Life is back in full swing.

It's back to balancing all the needs of each family member and those littles in my care, while tackling our 12th year of homeschooling.  This year brings us with "tot" school (not quite preschool, but just as fun and involved), 2nd grade, 6th grade, and a Junior (gasp).

We're only officially in our first week and the newness hasn't had time to wear off, but I'm in a confident place.  God is blessing our year.  We purposely gave it to him well before this week started.  He was in the choosing of directions and He was in the planning stages.  He was given every concern and recipient of praise for every victory.  He provided the way to make the needed purchases.  He opened up the calendar to give us a chance to start early to get a good rhythm going to be prepared to add in a sweet newborn soon to arrive and to offer care as needed for a special family needing temporary care as a ministry opportunity.  He has paved the way for more than I can describe.


I'm depleted.

Despite things going amazingly.  Despite joy and laughter. Despite great hope for doors that are opening wide.

I'm depleted.

Physically.  Zapped.
Emotionally. Done in.
Spiritually. Hungry

At first, I thought this was a negative.  I thought this was a sign that we are on the wrong path for some of the directions we are going.

Then I realized...

THIS is exactly where we need to be.  THIS is exactly where I SHOULD be.


Means I'm empty.  I have nothing of my own to give.

OH but wait....

That means...

He shows up.
He gets the glory for every victory.
There's no confusion of where the power comes from.

I'm empty for a reason.

I'm empty to be FILLED by Him.

Emptied of me.
Emptied of my desires.
Empty of my abilities.

Empty to be filled of Him.

This is the BEST place.

Instead of being discouraged, I need to be amazed and have my eyes wide open.

His opportunities are waiting.

His grace is sufficient.
He gives rest.
His power is made strongest in my weaknesses.

Oh yes....

I'm beginning to like this empty place.

(Yet, I do think some extra naps and rest when it can be squeezed in aren't a bad idea either...)