Sad News: Compassion Update

28
Mar
2017

Sad News: Compassion Update

For the past two years, we’ve been sponsoring six girls from India through Compassion with the affiliate commission I earn from Amazon when you make a purchase using my link.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to share our sponsorship with them has ended. Over the past few months I was made aware of a situation in India with the current government which did not look good for outside organizations who help the poor inside the country.  

Unfortunately, I got final word of the devastating news that Compassion must close its sponsorship program in India. It breaks my heart, but I have to believe God has bigger purposes. I choose to believe that. He will work it all out for good.

I sat down to write final goodbye letters to our girls and wasn’t quite sure what to say. Goodbyes are hard, but we wrote a short note and my son made a drawing on their letters.

Compassion Girls in India

I received final photos of the girls, which we will keep and I will continue to pray for them. If I could ask you to please pray that parents, especially those of these girls, will continue to put a priority on education and that they will be encouraged to attend school and not fall behind in their studies.  

This is a huge part of what our sponsorship did with these girls in India. They got a great education, which can make a huge difference in their future.

I wanted to update you all with this news and let you know I am currently working with Compassion to find six girls at another location that our blog can sponsor. I will share an update as soon as I get it.

In the meantime, please know that the funds collected through shopping through my Amazon affiliate link will still be set aside and given to Compassion. I believe in this organization and am proud to collaborate with them in helping to care for those who need it in all parts of the world.

Thank you so much for your faithfulness to use the Amazon link when you shop and to help make a difference in the lives of these girls.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as a Family

7
Mar
2017

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day as a Family

Do you and your family love to celebrate holidays? If you do, this post is for you!

Ever since my kids were little, we would take almost every opportunity to shift from the ordinary and celebrate the little things. Having some fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is a winner for sure.

Plan now for some fun to make your day as a family filled to the brim with happy memories!

#1: St. Patrick’s Day Photo Booth Props – The Dating Divas

These photo booth props are adorable and great to make some Facebook or Instagram worthy photos!

#2: 20 St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Kids to Make – CraftRiver

I am always in need of some fun craft ideas. This is full of creative ideas.

#3: 10 Things for a Family-Style St. Patrick’s Day – Let’s Get Together

Here is a plan already put together. No brain work required!

#4: St. Patrick’s Day Preschool Learning Pack – Homeschool Preschool

Super cute printables to keep any little one busy and entertained!

#5: St. Patrick’s Day Treasure Hunt with Free Printable Clues – Happy Money Saver

Fun treasure hunt for the entire family.

#6: St. Patrick’s Day Word Search – The Typical Mom

I love a good word search and I am passing that love on to my seven year old too!

#7: St. Patrick’s Day Minute to Win It Activities – Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher

If you have a large family or want to invite some friends over, this will be a hit.

#8: St. Patrick’s Day “I Am Lucky” Craft – What I Have Learned

Another adorable craft. This may be my favorite!

Do you have a family tradition for St. Patrick’s Day? I’d love to have you share in the comments.

Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

27
Feb
2017

Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

Exhausted, overwhelmed, and numb. Any of those feelings hit close to home?

Last week I shared with you all about my season of loneliness (a topic we never want to discuss or admit). But I am here to see. I am surviving and pulling up my bootstraps and pushing into a new season of expectation.  

Yes, I’m expecting amazing things!

So, what do you do in the meantime during that transition of feeling worn out and weary? Whether it’s a season of loneliness, toddlers running you ragged, or a season of health challenges, maybe you can implement a few tips I am currently using to give myself grace.

Batch Cook

Oh my word. This is a life saver for me right now. To be honest, there are days I don’t want to cook and am worn out physically and emotionally. So I am thankful that when I make a batch of soup or a casserole, I have been doubling my recipe and making sure I have ingredients on hand and freezing a batch. I can grab something in the freezer and dinner is taken care of.  

Rest

This is a hard one for me, and I rarely ever just relax. But times are changing and my body needs time to recharge. Our emotional health is important and will impact our physical health. Finding time to sit, listen to music, and nap. Yes, I said NAP! Snuggling up with a warm blanket and a book is nourishment for your soul.

Let the Guilt Go

I have let my house get a bit chaotic for my own liking the past few months. One reason is I know we are moving, but the second reason was because I was exhausted. I have done the minimum and, you know what, we all survived! I have changed my perspective and chosen to use that time to relax instead of get all upset because I should have ran the vacuum. Find a balance that fits your season for right now.

Play with Kinetic Sand

Yes, this one is a bit odd, but putting aside our “normal” means doing some things NOT normal! For me, it was sitting down and doing Kinetic Sand (one of my son’s favorite activities). I am so not about the play, but when you are needing to change things up a bit, drawing, coloring, or using your hands in mundane activities can be really good! We have had quite the collection of sand, toys, and imaginary play.

Get Outside

I have said this one before (many times), but I know it can be work in the middle of winter. Whether you deal with snow, freezing temperatures, or lots of rain like I do, it is not always easy to just get yourself outside. But do it anyway. Especially when it’s not easy. I can often make excuses to stay indoors for days on end and it will feed my exhaustion and overwhelm. Seeing the inside four walls of my home day after day will exhaust my spirit. Getting outside I am reminded of God’s goodness and His caring for what is around me. I love the fresh air and my body needs the activity for sure.

Get Yourself Some Flowers

Yes, get yourself some fresh flowers to brighten your space. My favorite flowers are tulips and they can bring a smile to my face in an instant. You don’t have to spend a lot, but grab yourself a bunch of daisies, tulips, or maybe a potted primrose and brighten your space up!

What is your tip for seasons of weary motherhood?

Battling Through a Season of Loneliness

20
Feb
2017

Battling Through a Season of Loneliness in Motherhood

The past five months have been some of the toughest days of my life. It may surprise you, as it surprised me to admit it just a few weeks ago. However, it is the truth.

It is tricky enough that motherhood can be some of the loneliest years of our life. I know that and I can usually overcome those feelings of isolation and debilitating bitterness. But I feel guilt as well – because just six months ago we sold our home in Seattle, moved three hours west to a sweet and adorable town we’ve been dreaming of moving to, and here I find myself lonely?

I mean, how can that be? I am living the life I have been dreaming of!

But, even when we step out in faith and walk the path set before us, He never promises it will all be peaches and cream. And I have been a bit blindsided with the intense loneliness I’ve encountered.

I could go on with the reasons I feel lonely. They are all valid. I mean, it is how I feel and the circumstances are all true. Instead, I want to share with you how I’ve shifted my focus over the last few weeks to begin to see light at the end of my tunnel.

Break Free from Social Media

This is a tough one for me, since I run two businesses online and want to connect with my readers on Facebook – but the reality is, I need to take regular breaks.

For me, this season of isolation and loneliness intensifies when I am on Facebook viewing the highlight reels of everyone. I need to protect my heart and soul, which means not going to Facebook first thing each day or even several times a day.

Be Intentional

If you are like me and recently moved to a new community, which by the way is only 88 people big, you can’t wait for someone else to reach out to you. For months, that is what I did. Waited for someone to invite me to coffee or lunch. So in the past month, I’ve been intentional about making coffee dates and lunch dates with others and reaching out to them. Instead of fearing rejection I am stepping out with hope. This has been a game changer.

Worship

I have had sobbing sessions with God, weeping to praise music trying to re-focus and remember that I am not alone. He is with me EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s hard, really hard, but I believe that He will never leave nor forsake me. I have burned the daylights out of my Pandora stations alternating through worship music. This is my song for 2017 – You Have Called Me Higher by All Sons and Daughters. This year will be a great year and through greatness comes growth and character development, which I believe can be found during these lonely seasons.

Be Gentle with Yourself

This area is so hard for me, because I like to have the perception that I am capable of all things, all the time. But the reality is I need to rest and allow my soul to just be. If I am down, let the feelings surface instead of just covering them up. A nice hot bath can do wonders for me. A cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee enjoyed in silence is so soothing.

Find Fellowship

When we moved, we lost connection with our church family. If anyone has moved, you know what I am talking about. Our normal became very NOT normal. We’ve struggled with finding a new home church, but in the past three weeks we’ve been purposeful about connecting and putting a priority on finding a local church where we can connect, contribute, and find fellowship. This has been a big stride in pushing ahead through this intense season, and it won’t solve all the ups and downs, but there is nothing like being connected with other believers in doing good for God.

Using My Crazy Oils

Emotional support – essential oils are amazing for helping in this area. When you inhale an oil, it takes less than 22 seconds for it to reach the limbic system in the brain. (More amazing facts about essential oils here!) This area plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. So when I inhale different oils and continually repeat it can help shift my mood, my focus, and my attitude. There are days my oils – like Joy, Harmony, Stress Away, Peace & Calming, Grounding, and Sacred Mountain – have been my life line to survival, along with some worship music! I can’t imagine my life without my toolbox of all natural plant based goodness for my body!

Even though I have been in this season of transition, I know we are truly blessed to live where we do. So many other good things are coming from our obedience. I love the slower pace and finding joy in things I otherwise would have missed, like the sunset. Here is one I viewed on Friday evening – pure amazement!

Beach Sunset

What has helped you through seasons of loneliness?

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

6
Feb
2017

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

We all know that learning to read is important, but as parents what we do to facilitate this milestone in our home is extremely important. For those that homeschool, you already have the great joy of educating your children on your terms. But for those who school outside the home, it can seem daunting to know what to focus on at home. Helping to encourage your child to read is at the top of my list! Reading to your child has many benefits, one of which is simply having time to snuggle together.

#1: Reading Is Important

When you read to your child, he/she will learn that reading is important to you. Therefore, reading will become important to him/her.

#2: Listening Is Powerful

The more your child hears sounds, the better he/she will process these sounds into words. When a child is preschool/kindergarten age, the listening word starts to become the written word. Reading will foster your child’s ability to listen and pay attention. With all the problems we here about concerning attention spans, this is a great way to avoid that.

#3: Effective Calming

Reading has a calming effect on a restless or fussy baby. Words spoken out loud give a calming effect – even for you as you read. Who doesn’t want an easy way to calm a fussy baby?

#4: An Easy Routine

Reading is a wonderful before bed routine. Studies have shown that a child will thrive in an atmosphere in which routines are present. So either before or after pajamas, spend some time reading a book. We’ve recently started The Magic Treehouse books and we read a few chapters each night.

#5: Expand Their Imagination

Reading will help to develop your child’s imagination. Have you ever gotten lost in a good book? Your child can do the same while you are reading to him/her. We have recently been learning about sharks, dinosaurs, and Ancient Egypt – all from the comfort of our home!

#6: Build Communication Skills

When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.

#7: Life-Long Reader

Reading to your child will develop in him/her the desire to become a reader.

We recently discovered a fun way to expand our reading library all on my iPad. Now that we’ve moved, we are 30 minutes from a library, so not super convenient for random trips to the library to get books. A friend shared Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids, which offers unlimited access to over 20,000 high-quality children’s books, including thousands of read-to-me, audio books, and educational videos. It does cost $4.99 a month, so for a few months we are trying it out to see how we enjoy the convenience. I really like that there are options for reading levels, having the book read to my child, or having him read. He uses his Blue Light Glasses too, which helps me feel good with him using screen devices, especially in the evening. We have thoroughly enjoying expanding our imagination with books!

Isn’t it exciting to think that you can have such an effect on your child’s ability to read just by reading to him/her? You have the power to develop a life long joy of reading and learning in your child. WOW! Just read.

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