The Wedding in 5 days...

Laurie & Kelsey

 In a few short days the wedding of the century will begin.

This week is full of hair appointments, nail appointments, picking up tuxedos, rehearsals, rehearsal dinners...

I'm trying to keep it all together but there is so much to do!  Thank goodness we did so much in advance to make this week as stress free as possible but with all four of us being in the wedding party and two of us under the age of 5...there is a lot to do and explain to the little ones in my life.

We've been talking about good behavior, holding hands down the aisle.  (Julia is the flower girl and Mark is the ring bearer...I don't think the pictures will be able to stand all the cuteness in the church).

We've been talking about how Aunt Laurie loves Kelsey and how Kelsey will now be UNCLE Kelsey.

We've been planning how much chocolate and goodies mommy will have during the photo shoot since my little ones will have no nap and pictures taken of them from 12:30 til about 5pm. 

Julia is so excited to wear her all white princess dress and Mark is excited to wear his suit and say, "Stylish!"  He and Julia have this inside joke with Ben Weaver and they do all these silly faces.

So pray for us this week.  We have lots to accomplish, but it is going to be a sweet, precious time for our family.

I love weddings!


Photoshoot Pictures

In Jersey Magazine Photoshoot

This past February I went for a casting call for all women at the Asbury Park Press.  I thought maybe there would be 50 women who showed up, but actually almost 200 did!

When I got there I was so nervous, but excited to meet the judges and hopefully charm them with my personality and charisma (I wish you could hear me laughing!).

Ever since I was little I have wanted to be in magazines.  My dad is an artist and photographer, and used to do photography and graphic art and layouts for Avon in NYC.  He would come home and tell us about the photoshoots he helped set up and do and the models he saw and worked with, one of which was Andie McDowell.

I used to cut out pictures of hair styles I liked and outfits I thought worked well together...and although I never drew or painted like my parents did...I think I had a knack for fashion, or at least I enjoyed it.

After college, majoring in theater dance and elementary education...I thought I'd pursue acting/modeling...but God closed a lot of doors and opened the ones He wanted me a part of, and He showed me my real gifts and passions were teaching and education...but still, part of me loves photography and fashion, and so being a part of the May issue of In Jersey was really really fun for me.

Click here to access the magazine and view pages 53-57 to see two of the shots I did.  I loved that when I interviewed in February the first thing I talked about to the judges was about my children, and the fact that they chose me for the Mothers Day May issue was really special to me, because I don't see myself as a Domestic Diva or an Artsy Mom, I just see myself as a Mom...and I'm loving every minute of it.

I was super blessed by John who sacrificed an entire work day in the city for me to allow me to do the photoshoot from 8:30 til 4pm...it was a long day for me and it was so nice knowing Daddy was home with the kiddos!  So, thanks honey!

It was fun being a model for a day, and having someone do my hair and make up and dress me!  I loved the fashion designer and make up artist...I learned a lot about make up and have been using those tips for the big wedding this weekend!!!

Thanks In Jersey magazine for making me feel like a model for a day!


My Awana Girl

Thank You Miss Kathy

I want to take a minute to thank all the Awana helpers and leaders out there!

Awana stays for A Workman Approved will not be Ashamed.  It's a great bible class for kids that teaches the kids how to memorize scripture and hide it in their hearts.  They have a blast each week going to class, playing with friends, practicing their verses, learning new Bible stories, coloring, and playing games!!

Kathy P. class has about 10 helpers!!! Okay, maybe 5 or 6 but it is so great she has so much help because about 15 kids show up each Thursday to learn more about Jesus.

This past Thursday was our final awards assembly, the kids got their awards, sang songs, and watched the older kids get their awards.  It was great to see family members come, aunts and grandparents support the little people in their lives.

Julia was on stage when she saw Aunt Sara and Grandma Donna sitting with us in the audience and she stopped and waved and said, "Hi grandma Donna!!!"  It was priceless.  The Awana Cubbies stole the show...they are so cute.  Who can blame them?

And guess what?  Next year...a very handsome little brother will be 3 and he will be in big sister's class!!!

Praising God for the little people in my life...My daughter Julia...I am so proud of her...and my son Mark, so proud of him too.

And when Julia gets older and starts to ask me, "Mom, when did I accept Jesus as my Savior?"  I will be able to say, "It was a Thursday in October on our way to Awana that you told me you wanted a clean heart so Jesus could live inside."  Awana has meant so much to our family.  It is an excellent program that teaches kids the Good News!!!


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Crock Pot: Roasted Pepper and Bean Chili

Vegetarian Meal

I have not cooked meat for over a month now.  Except once for my SIL because it was her birthday wish on April 15!

I made this crock pot meal yesterday and was really surprised at how yummy it turned out!

I think over the past year I have officially become A COOK!  I say that with laughter and confidence.  I used to follow recipes to the T.  But now as I have gotten older and wiser and much more health conscious and much more picky I am able to look at a recipe and not panic if a few of the items we don't have.  I am able to tailor it to our needs and our likes.  I think that is what a real cook does.  I still follow the recipe to some degree but now I have fun making them my own.  I got this recipe from my crock pot book, but I am going to give it to you exactly the way I made it with my ingredients so it's really a Kristi version.  The book version called for yellow onion (but with my research I've found red onions are much better for you).  The book version called for 2 red peppers and 2 green peppers and first you had to roast them but we are not big fans of green pepper and getting already roasted red peppers made the directions much easier!

Roasted Pepper & Bean Chili

Ingredients:

1 large jar of roasted red peppers cut into small pieces
1/2 red onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can red beans, drained

Directions:

Add all ingredients to the crock pot.  Mix a few times with all the spices.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.




MEEEEEEEEEEEE

Fun Facts About Yours Truly

 1. I've never had braces...yet sucked my thumb at bed time til I was eleven...don't know how I have straight teeth!

2. I wanted to be a waitress when I was little...seriously that was what I wanted to be when I grew up so I could wear pretty aprons and ask people what their order was...and be able to hold a pad and pen.

3. I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior when I was 5 years old...in my mom's bedroom, upstairs...we were talking about heaven and I desperately wanted to go to heaven and be with Jesus, mom explained to me about becoming born again and the Lord continues to be gracious to me ever since!

4. When I was little I wanted to get married and live on a big farm and have a boat load of children...at least 5!  When I turned 21 I got very fearful about having a baby and decided that being a teacher would be enough for me.  John and I got married in 2003 and we never once talked about having kids those first few years of being married...we were enjoying each other, traveling, doing ministry together, and then...I turned 28 and caught the baby bug...and never turned back!  We had Julia when I was 29 and Mark when I was 31!

5. I went to Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ for my undergrad work.  I majored in Elementary Education and Theater Dance.  I LOVED college.  I got so involved with clubs like the Black Cultural League, NAACP, Gospel Choir (we traveled most weekends to sing at churches), FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students).  I thought long and hard about joining a sorority but since I became an Resident Assistant my senior year and had Student Teaching and was so involved with plays each semester, I decided it wasn't the right fit for me...besides I couldn't choose one sorority that fit me.

6. I love theater.  Ever since I played Annie in 5th grade at Voorhees School I was hooked with singing and performing on stage!  I did plays in Middle School and all of HS.  Drama has always been an outlet for me.  I enjoyed memorizing lines and playing the part of someone else.  Singing was also a passion of mine.  I was in the youth choir and adult choir at my church for many years.

7. I DID NOT like teaching pre-school.  Don't get me wrong.  I was a great pre school teacher.  I arrived early to set up, I gave it my all, but I taught in a very poor district and the behavior of the students was poor, the parents were not very involved or supportive and I felt like all I did all day was wipe noses and remind kids to wash their hands.  I also was sick every other week.  It was my first teaching job out of college and my immune system was not built up yet.  During this year of teaching pre-K I went for my teacher's test to be certified K-8 in NJ and took lots of courses that made me excited for teaching a higher level.  Isn't it funny that now that I have pre schoolers I love school?  I guess I was really young and inexperienced...but it taught me a lot!  Also, the next year I taught 3rd grade for TCS and never had a sick day except when I got my wisdom teeth out!  Go figure!

8. I grew up in a dog loving home.  We always had a dog...and big ones.  We had a Rottweiler named Jabba and when we had to put him down because he had cancer we got an Akita named Gable...when I married John we lived in a townhouse first and didn't want a pet...but when we moved to our bigger home I knew how badly he wanted a dog...but once we got Paris our boxer I got pregnant...at first I loved having a puppy, but once Julia came and I became a mom...it got so hard handling both!!! I don't think I'm much of a dog person anymore...but I'm dedicated and Paris is so good with our children, she's a sweetie.

9. I'm the middle sister.  I have a 40 year old sister and a 24 year old sister.  When I hang out with my little sister Sara people always always ask us, "Who's older?"  I LOVE THAT.  Especially since I'm 8 years older!  My mom and dad gave all of us good young looking genes!!!

10. If I could have any wish answered it would be that one day I could go back to college and get my doctorate degree in education for administration.  I would absolutely love to be a professor for educators.  I think teaching is an extremely fabulous field and very rewarding.  It's not about the pay.  You have to do it because you love it and it is your passion!







Every Mother Needs.....

"God's greatness flows around our incompleteness."

I've been reading a book called Mothers Together by Ruth Bell Graham & Gigi Graham Tchividjian.  The one great thing about having older mom friends is they pass down the most awesome books from when they were young parents, I think this one was from Christy Weaver.


It got me to thinking that all moms have these basic needs to get them through the day.  Here is my own personal list of what I need physically, spiritually, and emotionally to get through the day with two children, a husband, and a home to run.

"The Lord is my strength...and my heart trusts in Him and I am helped." Psalm 28:7

1. Quiet Time with the Lord. I'm not always able to wake up earlier than the rest of the family but I do make sure we all have our quiet time with the Lord, whether that means I sit in the office and read and pray, or do devotions with the kids, or during nap time do my Bible study homework, it is a priority that at some time during the sunshine hours me and the Lord have our "catch up time" together.  I need fuel and encouragement from Him to make it and to sustain me or I end up stressed and striving throughout the day without Him.

2. Some type of list or goal for the day.  The list may be long or short.  I may have ten goals or only one, but something needs to be driving us through the day. Whether it's accomplishing an hour of school time for the kids, or food shopping, or catching a story time/craft time at the library, I need a purpose for my little family.  I'm not the type that can be in pjs all day without a plan...that would drive me crazy...unless one of us is sick then the goal would be to get that little person well!

3. Something to look forward to.   This is something I've always done as a teacher.  Each week or month we always had something special to look forward to and it would get us through the hard parts of the day or week.  At TCS when I taught 3rd grade it might be a special Earth Day week in April, or a Dr. Seuss day in March, or a pajama day if everyone turned in their homework or bagels after standardized testing.  I think it was what made me a good teacher.  I was constantly reminding the kids of why we were working so hard and that their was a reward in sight.  As a mom it might be hugging daddy when he gets home, or going to the mall on Fridays after gymnastics to ride the carousel, or a surprise trip to the park for a picnic lunch.  Something special that even mommy looks forward to because we've all been working so hard.  This summer it might be going to Liberty Science Center, Cape May Zoo, or taking swim lessons.

4. Short accounts.  There will be times throughout the day that I mess up and need to apologize to God, my spouse or my kids.  I am not perfect and I am humble enough to know that the quicker I apologize and recognize my faults the better my relationships will be. Saying "I'm sorry" to my kids and my husband is especially humbling but it reminds all of us that we are a team and that a team can't function if there are hurt feelings between us.  This weekend Mark was put on the time out step and immediately he said, "I'm sorry!"  John responded..."You still have two minutes Marky."  to which Marky said, (oh my goodness cuteness is a huge factor here) "I'm sorry forever!"  Where he got that little phrase I have no idea...but we got the point.  He knew he was going to mess up again and just wanted forgiveness forever...after his two minutes he got the biggest hug I've ever seen.

 5. Counting my blessings.  Throughout the busy day I get tired and sometimes discouraged.  Counting my many blessings from the Lord is a beautiful thing that puts things all back into focus.  I'm blessed and God reminds me of His goodness when I see a smile from Mark, hear Julia reading to her brother, get a loving text from my husband, or see the sun peaking out from a cloud.  God is so good.  All the time.



My husband is AWESOME

You are AWESOME honey

Last night John came home at 7pm which never happens!  It was such a treat to have him home early, and the minute he came home he told me..."You are going to have the next 2 hours off!"  He then packed up both kids in his car and left! He didn't return til after 9pm, and it was so unexpected and so sweet.  

I was able to clean up after dinner while watching a show on his IPAD in the kitchen...then I organized Julia's bedroom which had gotten very unruly, and I was able to do our final summer clothes bin.  Then I plopped on our bed and vegged out til he got home.  It was so nice!

But that's not all--

They went food shopping last night  for our company today and they bought all breakfast pastries and fruit and cheese so we could have an English breakfast (cheese, pastry, a boiled egg and tea).  I woke up and he had breakfast all prepared for us.

But that's not all--

Then I got the kids dressed and ready because Saturday mornings we go to taekwondo and had a hair cut appointment for Marky.  I took a shower, packed the car and took the kids.

When I got back all of the floors were freshly washed, the counters cleared from breakfast, and the toy room completely picked up.

But that's not all--

Then I went downstairs to put a show on for the kids and noticed the toys were cleaned up, the leather couch was cleaned, the blankets were folded and put away and he dusted the entertainment center.

But that's not all--

He also took our dog Paris to the vet to get her shots and be groomed.

My husband, John McInerney is husband of the day!!! 


Pray BEFORE you Plan...

James

I've been reading in the book of James for the past three weeks, and after hearing a lecture on the last 3 chapters what convicted me the most (besides the whole part on guarding your tongue) was how we need to be careful what we say we will do.

James 3: 5
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
 This verse talks about how powerful our words are and how a small thing like a tongue could get us into a lot of trouble.  Keeping our mouths closed is a wise thing.  I once heard that owls are so wise because they have great big eyes to watch with and very small mouths to speak with.  We humans need to keep our words to a minimum or at least pray before we speak.

God convicted me of boasting about my plans.  I plan to do this that and the other thing.  Listen I am just wired to plan ahead and I don't think that is a bad thing, but I do think God wants me to stop, look, and listen to what HIS plans might be for my life and day!  I need to stop look and think about and even consider that I might have all these great plans for the future but that God might have something else in mind and therefore I might need to adjust my life or my way of thinking.

James 4: 7-10 says

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
 I am learning that being a Christian means I need to submit to God...daily.  And that means giving God my plans and at the very least running them by Him.  What right do I have saying, "I plan to have 7 children!" when I have not even asked God about what He thinks I should do.  So often we plow ahead and make our plans without ever considering our heavenly father.  How prideful is that?  We are to be humble before God.

So often we make our plans and then pray...God is teaching me to PRAY before I plan.  I'm so thankful for this new thought because it has allowed me some freedom in worrying about the future and what God holds for us as a family, as far as homeschooling, and ministry, and more children.  God's plan is always 10 times better than my plan.  So I will be humbly asking Him to show me His plan instead of boasting about my own.  I want to boast about His plan!!!

James 4:13-16
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 1516 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”


My Mark

Mark almost 3...

Buddy you are almost 3...you are becoming so funny and so brave.  Today mommy was so proud of you to go into your new Bible class with all new people without mommy.

You were such a good boy.  I gave you a quick hug and kiss and made sure your back pack was put in your cubby with your blanky on top for prayer time.

Hearing you cry at first broke my heart.  But they gave me a beeper and for 2 hours not one beep.  I prayed for you a lot during those two hours.  I know how hard it is for you to leave mommy and to go into some place new...without your big sister to cheer you up.  Thank you.  You allowed  mommy to learn more about Jesus and you were brave...

I picked you up right on time...and ran to get you...but your class was still busy singing and I saw you on your teachers lap looking serious, and yet having fun...so I picked up your sister, and guess what?  She was brave too (I knew she'd be totally fine...her teacher was amazed at how well she did and how she made new friends already on her first visit, but I knew that is just my social butterfly Julia) ...Julia did not greet me with "Hi mom, I missed you, or Hi mom, where've you been..."  Guess all she cared about?  Mark.  Her Mark.  Her baby brother whom she was separated from for 2 hours...we do everything together and to be without sister or brother is a big deal.

"MOM...where's my Mark?"  "What class is he in?"  She was so concerned about getting to him and checking on him that her poor teacher had to carefully remove her pin name tag before she bolted out of the classroom.


 And boy was Mark happy to see us.  He had a great time.  He did cry for a minute, but had a blast the rest of the time.  Thank heavens!

So Mark, I figured out the title for your birthday book this year...My brave boy...Mark's 2 year old life.

And I'm so proud of my Julia for being so brave in her class and caring so tenderly for her brother...it warms my heart. 


Amelia & Bugs

Learning at Home

School at home has been so much fun!  Julia and Mark are truly my pride and joy.  They love learning and exploring and everything is an adventure.  At bedtime and naptime they ask me, "Mommy what adventure are we going to do next?"

They keep me excited about school!

This spring we just bought a book all about God's Creation and Weather from the Bible book store Body & Soul.

This past week we borrowed 5 books from the library from the bug section.  We have all these nature books with real pictures of Bees, the Life of the Ladybug, Killer Ants,  and Mark was so intrigued by a Gorilla, Monkey & Ape DK book...whatever captures his attention is what I get and am excited to teach him.

Last week when we were at Barnes & Noble looking for a birthday gift for Aunt Laurie I decided to get a novel on Ameila Earhart.  So we will study a new famous person every  semester...in the Fall we learned all about Thomas Jefferson.  I figured this time it would be good to study a famous woman...and Mark LOVES airplanes so I thought this was a good choice (and I LOVE the name Amelia).

 We lead a pretty charmed life over here...just me and the kids...learning, reading, exploring, and on to the next adventure...


No Fear--Our Ever Present Help

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. "Selah" 
 
Isn't it awesome how the author of the Psalms had such a sure foundation in the Lord?  Even though the earth might give way...and the mountains fall into the heart of the see, even if the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging...guess what...our refuge and our strength can always be found in the Lord.  
 
He is our Ever Present Help.  
 
To put this in my stay at home mom world...even if the kids are sick, even if my husband is stressed at work and working long hours, even if my to do list is long, and even if nap time never comes...God is my refuge and my strength...He's my ever present help in trouble.
 
I'm praising the Lord today for His goodness and faithfulness, and His ever present help! 
 
 
 
Today is the last day I teach Ladies Bible study.  I have done it for two years now and I feel that God is calling me to a place of more time with my growing little family.  We purchase Julia's final pieces of Kindergarten curriculum the middle of May and come summer time we will be starting her first days of school!  I am so excited for this new chapter in our lives.  I'm praising God for a new season and a new challenge in my life.  


Portraits!!!

Spring Pictures!

Mark and Julia are getting their pictures taken tomorrow so that we have special presents for Mother's Day for the Grandma's. 

Pictures of their grandchildren are worth gold to these very special ladies...and Mark is turning 3 next month so I also wanted some special ones of only him.

We plan on wearing our best clothes...and bringing some fun props...and mommy will be bringing some chocolate and swedish fish as very special rewards for all those darling children who cooperate and SMILE for the camera!!!

I can't wait to go!  Getting new pictures of the kids is so much fun...and now Julia and Mark are such hams in front of the camera...praying for a good hair day tomorrow too...it's supposed to be almost 90 degrees tomorrow!

Woohoo!

I love pictures!


Aunt Laurie's Birthday Bash

Happy Birthday, Aunt Laurie!!

Today we had Laurie and her fiance Kelsey, and Grandma Judy and Grandpa Jack over for dinner!

I was able to make Laurie her birthday meal (she asked for anything with chicken involved...she LOVES chicken).  I planned out my menu at the beginning of the week and was ready to get to work by Sunday morning!

Here was the birthday menu:

Appetizers:

Chips and Salsa  (Mango Salsa and Pineapple Salsa)
Fresh Veggies (carrots and celery cut up)
Leeks, Shrimp, and Whole wheat pasta

Dinner:

Spinach & Strawberry Salad (with homemade dressing)
Avocado and Fresh Garden Salad (tomatoes, carrots, celery, and romaine lettuce)
Lemon Roasted Chicken in Crock pot
Corn
Baked Potatoes

Dessert:

Ice Cream Cake
Coffee
Tea

After dinner we took a walk around the block with the kids while they rode their bikes and while Julia pushed her carriage...to walk off the dinner...and make room for the ice cream.

We came back, sang Happy Birthday, Laurie opened her gifts (we got her the Vera Bradley bag she wanted and Kelsey got her a diamond heart bracelet, and mom got her a gift card).

Then we ate and relaxed downstairs while the kids watched The Prince of  Egypt  and Julia told us everything she knew about Pharaoh and Moses.

It was a great time...and we all had fun.

And Kelsey and John made us laugh the whole time...they are exactly alike...brothers already.


Blog Hop 250 Fantastic Followers!!!

 It's Time to Mingle!
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is:  Two Sasters


 There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.

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Spring Cleaning

I am a list maker!

Today my focus is on Spring Cleaning!

Here is an article I found on the web that had tons of ideas and areas to focus on in your home...it made my to do list even longer. It's called Spring Chores.

I will divide the day into segments so I can everything in before Taekwondo and Awana.  I will also work around the kids little schedules and keep them occupied with fun hands on activities like Cheerio counting games, play dough fun, and our new fun activity making pictures with all different stamps and colors.

First Part: (After breakfast and devotions)

1. change all linens upstairs in bedrooms
2. bleach both bath tubs
3. vacuum all 3 bathrooms
4. wash bathroom floors
Second Part: (After Library time)
5. Go through all the clothes Liz gave us for Mark (we love hand me downs)
6. Go through Mark's drawers and closet
7. Make a donate pile for shoes/clothes

Third Part: (During Nap time)

8. Organize pantry
9. Clean bottom of fridge
10. dust basement

Final Part (After bed time)

11. Sort papers on home school table
12. dust basement ceiling (I've spotted some spider webs!)

Thursdays are actually a busy enough day with Taekwondo and Awana, but we are not going to do school tomorrow so I will have some time to spare!  And it's spring break after all...I can't miss out on Spring Cleaning!

Praying for cooperative kids and quick hands so that I will be able to sneak in some "me" time and maybe nap a bit during nap time!!! I doubt it though.  Anything that I don't get to I will work on Friday!  Wish me luck!!!









We will not compare ourselves...

Galatians 5:26 We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.--The Message


Let us not become boastful challenging one another, envying one another. --Galatians 5:26 NASB In my Bible study on Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity we talk about how women constantly compare each other...and I've seen it right before my very eyes in my own home.

Beth Moore calls this bad math approach.  Because once we start comparing ourselves to others we WILL find things that are better (and worse) in that person...but why do we start adding or subtracting from ourselves?  Just because someone else is more attractive or a better cook, does NOT mean that we are then horrible. 

Or as Beth Moore puts it "If she is this + I am that = I'm a loser"  She says, "We can esteem another woman's achievements without feeling like an idiot.  We can admire another woman's terrific shape without feeling like a slob.  Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else?  You see, it's our insecurity that makes us so poor at math.  It constantly leads us to draw the wrong conclusions."


I love that we can think highly of another woman without thinking bad about ourselves.  I am already getting the hang of this notion...and I'm happily teaching it (in small doses of course) to my Julia.  Comparing ourselves to others is a poison...one I will not drink from or partake in.  I am confident in the woman God has made me...flaws and all...He is still perfecting me and working on me...I'm not finished yet people!!!

Whenever I start to feel a tinge of insecurity because of comparing myself to others, I repeat, "I am clothed with STRENGTH and DIGNITY" over and over.

My security is mine to keep.

God gave it to me.

No one gets to take it from me!


Our Beauty Talk

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.--Proverbs 31:30

On Saturday, we took the kids to their first Easter Egg Hunt at church (we practiced how to do it the night before at the Coyles house...thanks Ms. Lisa and Hannah for showing Mark and Julia how to find those hidden eggs and filling them with goodies).

It was so much to see about 45 kids gather at church on a Saturday to hear the gospel message (and find some hidden eggs).  I was asked to read a book to the group of kids before the hunt. I read the book, The Best Thing About Easter.  It's a great book reminding children that Easter is really all about Jesus.

After the book, the hunt, and hanging out with friends, John and I decided to take the kids out to lunch with Cinzia and her husband Joe.  We all met at Panera Bread because we didn't want the day to end.  We love hanging out with Chi Chi (my best friend since 6th grade) and Jo Jo (her son who is almost 4) and baby James (8 months old).

I didn't know that today would be an important day for Julia and I to have a Mother/Daughter talk...

I didn't know that the talk would happen in the bathroom at Panera...

But if you are a Mom or a Dad you know that whenever, and wherever your child opens up to you, you will take every advantage of that moment to invest in their little life, and to breathe in words of truth and wisdom (which only come from above).

Julia needed to use the restroom at Panera and so she and I went.  It's one of those huge single bathrooms with lots of privacy and which is very clean.

Julia was on the potty as I was fixing my hair in the mirror (it was one of those windy days).

"Mommy, I like your dress...you are beautiful..." (Julia and Mark are always saying sweet things like this, it's just how we talk to one another.)

"Thank you baby..."

"Mommy, I want that dress...you are beautiful and I'm only pretty...I want to be beautiful like YOU!"  And here is where my mouth dropped to the floor and I just froze.  I knew at that moment that I would never get this moment back and it was my job to say something super important...Oh Lord, Jesus, help me...I prayed.

Part of my shock was that my daughter was comparing herself to me...she's been doing this a lot lately..."Mommy my hair is longer...Mommy my dress is prettier...Mommy my skin is white and yours is brown..."  I didn't realize that kids really COMPARE everything...and they are trying to make sense of it all.  And they are so visual.  And little girls want to be big girls and be beautiful...and it just made me so sad that she felt she didn't measure up.  Because I feel like that too...and it does not feel good.  God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to others.  We are all unique and beautiful and have special gifts.  There is no other Julia Star or Kristi Anne...we are all originals and God has made us all fearfully and wonderfully...so how do I say all this to a 4 year old...

"Julia You are BEAUTIFUL!" I said.  God doesn't care about what you wear on the outside.  What does God care about?"

Julia: He cares about our hearts.  (see we have had this talk before)

Me: Yes darling, and He made all of us just the way He wanted us to look on the outside...but our hearts are most important.  We need to keep our hearts clean and beautiful and only Jesus can help us with that.

Julia just looked up at me with wide blue eyes and agreed.  And that was that.  She jumped down and washed her hands and skipped to her friends in the restaurant...the great thing about kids is they don't dwell on these issues too long.  Life gets really simple again really fast.

Our beauty talk seemed like hours but in reality it was only a few seconds...and we talked about it again that evening at bed time and on Easter morning (when she was all dressed up and feeling beautiful...we reminded her that yes she looked beautiful on the outside but her words and actions and her heart were most important to us)...

Every parent will have to address this issue of beauty with their child...I'm praying that the next time it comes up I will have some more words of wisdom (or something profound to say that she'll remember) to share. 

Being a Mom is so hard...especially of a beautiful daughter.


Easter Weekend


We had a wonderful Easter weekend.

He is Risen!

Saturday morning we had our first Egg Hunt at our church for kids ages 3 years old to 6th grade.  Aggie did a great job organizing the day and we had about 40-50 kids participate.

Saturday evening we hung out with my parents for dessert and the kids got to dye eggs for the first time with the grandparents.  It was really fun to see them work with Mom and Dad (my parents)...the kids were so serious...and I was so thankful my Mom let us do this fun (messy) project at her house!



Easter morning we took it easy and slept in til 7:30...we never do that!  I made breakfast for everyone and John was the camera man after I got each child dressed up in their Easter duds!!! They were so proud of how they looked...but we talked about beauty of the heart all day long...check out a post later this week on our "Beauty Talk" we have had with the kids this past week.



After going to the 11 o clock service we came home, ate a nice lunch...and let the kids play to their hearts content (way past their nap time...2:15 to be exact) and eat their candy...it was wonderful.

It was just a family day.

My favorite kind.


 The posts this week will be short...it's our Spring Break!!! But I will pop in to say hello!!!


Good Friday

Isaiah 53: 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 

This weekend we celebrate the death of Christ.

Isn't it weird to celebrate someone's death?

But those of us who have known family or friends who have passed from this life to the next know that when you know they loved Jesus and accepted Him as Lord of their life and Savior of their sins, you know they are absent from the body but present with the Lord...and funerals of those who are one with Christ are actually celebrations.

This week we have talked about the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins for us over and over, and again and again with the kids. Last night we went to TCS to hear Dr. Hartzler speak about the Glory of the Cross. Dr. Hartzler is now the Superintendent at TCS...he was also the Dean of my Graduate School and like a father to me. So when I got an email inviting all families and friends of TCS to attend...we packed our things up and went...and my two kids sat still and quiet for the entire time!!! (lollipops helped)

I rededicated my life to Christ that summer of 2002...John had just gotten saved in 2001 and God was drawing us both nearer to Himself.

The Glory of the Cross is all about how amazing it is that Christ led a perfect life, and died in our place on the cross for our sins. We didn't deserve it, but God loved us so much, and He is so holy, and we needed a Savior. God's plan was absolutely perfect.

As a mother of two children I can't imagine allowing one of my children to suffer for the sake of another. I can't imagine watching them be crushed, mocked, bruised, and killed so that others who were truly at fault could be free. How great His love is for us...that He would allow His one and only Son to be bruised for us...sinners...

Thank you Jesus. It's Good Friday because God is so good. He is so holy. He is so loving.

Thank you for the cross. I serve a risen Lord. I celebrate His death and resurrection because now I can have a relationship with the one true God!

Happy Easter!!!!

He is Risen!

He is Risen...indeed!
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Thankful Thursday

Things I am Thankful for This Week: 

1-Palm Sunday we had an awesome time with our family. The kids are at an age where they don't even "need us" meaning they walk in and play with everyone and sit with the aunts and uncles and cousins and play games and relax and just hang out. It is awesome! They only come to us to ask if they can have a piece of chocolate or some other yummy treat!

2-Monday we had breakfast with Daddy and then went to craft time at the Library and made lovely flower pictures inside an egg crate. Miss Marilyn read all stories about flowers and gardens. And Mark was so happy to use scissors and glue...and Julia was so popular that three girls were fighting over who could sit next to her! Me and the moms stayed out of that one...and the girls worked it out quite nicely!

 3-Tuesday was Ladies Bible Study and then since it was so gorgeous out we met Grandma Donna at the park and did our exercises on a bike trail, and played on the swings and slides. My mom is so great to hang out with us on her spring break. It made the day so fun for the kids. They love showing her all the things they can do that they learn in gymnastics.

 4-Wednesday I went to BSF for the first time and heard an awesome lesson on the book of James at Lincroft church. Then my buddy Erin came over with her two boys and Julia got to be a mommy to Mark, Nicholas and Christopher. The boys loved all the attention she gave them. Seriously, she is a mother hen! She helped Nicholas up and down the stairs, she helped clean his nose. Erin let baby Christopher (7 mos) go on her lap...it was so neat to see her interact with little ones. She is such a good big sister.

 5-My hubby is such a hard worker. Even though I miss him to pieces I am so thankful for all that he does.
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Missing Your Man

Me and my man on Palm Sunday
This has been such a busy week for us over here...we are enjoying Spring Break with family and friends and having some Grandma time and friend time for me, and tomorrow Julia will have her first girl playdate with a girlfriend from church.  We are taking the two 4 year olds to Sweet and Sassy for manicures...they are going to be in little girl heaven!

But what has made this week difficult is that John hasn't gotten home til about 10 pm every night.  He leaves by 6:30 or 7 a.m...and then I don't see him til way after the kids are in bed (I've even been allowing them to stay up later than normal just for company!)

What is a girl to do when she misses her man, and yet she knows he is working hard to provide for the family? (I've been praying that God would continue to bless the fruit of all of John's labor...and God has!!! He got another bonus this month and more clients keep coming...but then he has to create portfolios and keep up with all of his clients and has more meetings...and thus I don't see him all day long. 

I sometimes feel alone.  A girlfriend contacted me through facebook today...all the way from Georgia!  She knows who she is...we started texting and then we shared how we are both missing our hubbys.  It made me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one.  It was good to know that I had a sister in the Lord praying for me...because by 8pm with the kids all day, by myself, answering all the questions, playing, teaching, driving, cooking, cleaning...I'm tired...and cranky!

I had some good time with the Lord this week too...that really helped.  Just knowing and trusting God for the days needs and knowing He was my strength... and knowing that I am clothed with strength and dignity...Proverbs 31: 25 also helped.  God is so good and faithful to provide support and friendships when you may least expect it and in the most unusual places...like through your blog, or on facebook, or a simple text even...these tiny bursts of love and energy can help you get through a long day!

Here are some other verses Beth Moore shared in the Bible Study book I'm doing right now with my Ladie's Bible Study...it's called So Long, Insecurity...My prayer for you today...no matter who you are or what your circumstances may be...that you will not feel alone...remember our feelings do not have to dictate our choices and they are not always true to reality...they may feel real, but the truth of the matter is WE ARE NOT alone...God is always with us...

God will...

perfect everything that concerns you (Psalm 138: 8)
work all things together for your good (Romans 8: 28)
contend with those who contend with you (Isaiah 49: 25)
fight this battle for you (2 Chronicles 20:15)
equip you with divine power (2 Corinthians 10:4)
delight to show you mercy (Micah 7:18)
meet all your needs according to My glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
give you grace that is perfectly sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9)
be your power in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)

and my absolute favorite...

do immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within you (Ephesians 3:20)

Do you see now why Jesus my Lord and Savior is my very best friend?  He is soooo good to me! And He always goes above and beyond what I can even ask or think to ask!

So...it is almost 10 pm...my hubby is still away...but that's okay...because I am not alone.

Ever.


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Palm Sunday


Matthew 21

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
 1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
 5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
   ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
   and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a] 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
   “Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]   “Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
What amazes me about the first Palm Sunday is that Jesus is God and yet he chooses to enter the city of Jerusalem on a donkey.  A donkey.  A peaceful sign a gentle sign.  The Lord of lords and King of kings who could have come on a gold studded "blinged out" (bling bling--diamonds) encrusted chariot...chose to come riding in on a donkey.

It says so much about the character of God.  He is so gentle.  He is so kind.  Not in a weak way but in a loving way.  He doesn't force himself on anyone...he gently pursues us and woos us to himself.  I love that.  I love that he is not flashy or loud. 

If I was a queen I think I would want the finest chariot to ride around in so people would know who I was (probably not because I might want to be anonymous and hide in my chariot so that I would NOT be the center of attention!)  

Jesus didn't have to prove He was God.  He was and IS God.  It is what it is.  He didn't come to earth to be flashy or show offy or proud.  He didn't make a grand entrance so people would look at Him and be amazed.  Just His very presence was amazing.  The miracles He did...feeding the 5,000, casting out demons, healing Lazarus from the dead...word got around fast without the use of cellphones, facebook, or IPADS...people knew this Jesus was legit because He is legit!  He is God.  He is God.  And He came for one reason and purpose to die in our place for our sins.

This morning as I was putting on my makeup and getting ready for church I could hear Julia in her room talking to her dolls about the miraculous empty grave and how Jesus rose from the dead for our sins...because He loved us...even young children can grasp this love and this need for a Savior.

Who is this? Who is this the people asked as he rode in on a donkey...

This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee...

He is the Son of God.

Jesus, I have so much more to learn about you and how great you are.  I pray today that as we celebrate Palm Sunday with family and friends we can also humbly and gently remind our family the true meaning of Palm Sunday and Easter.  


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