Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Funnies- Uh-Oh!

In the words of Jaden, last week Jacob had a big "Uh-oh" moment....LOL. I'm sorry, but it still makes me laugh when I think about it. We had gone to the Japanese Stroll Gardens here, and we were having so much fun on all the little trails and taking pictures. All of a sudden, we heard a loud thump and heard Jacob immediately start crying. He was so afraid that he was going to be in huge trouble; he kept saying so over and over again. Dan and I couldn't help it; we just started cracking up, of course, trying to hide it because Jacob was so upset. As we were shaking from uncontrollable laughter, Dan tried to get all the pieces to the Japanese statue that Jacob had accidentally knocked over. Yep, my boy takes after me; clumsy as his own mama.He was so upset, and he especially didn't like the part where he had to get down underneath the bushes, way back in the bushes, to get the one little piece that was still missing from the top. (Here's the hole he had to crawl back in....)But he did it! He was very afraid that he might go to jail (of course, we didn't tell our own son that)LOL, and as you can see (if you look really hard way back in the picture), we had witnesses; oy vei!I think they thought we were insane, with Jacob crying and us in a laughing fit. Thankfully, all was well, and we were able to tell the admissions lady out front when we left what had happened. Apparently, it has happened before, because she knew the exact statue we were talking about and described it back to us to a T. Anyway....if you ever go, watch out for that, crazy, movable statue on the little island part of the gardens. Never a dull moment with the Lockcuff gang.:)

For more Friday Funnies, link up with Homesteaders Heart.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Paula Deen Candles

I know it's hard to believe coming from me, but I actually found something at Walmart that I love....I know, horrible. It is the most wonderful thing, though! Paula Deen now has a set of candles out, and I love them! So far, I have the Mystery Pecan Pie scent and the Strawberry Shortcake scent. They work very well, as when I light them, they smell up the whole house. The Strawberry Shortcake one reminds me of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls I had while growing up; I still have them tucked away in my cedar chest and sometimes get them out just to have a sniff.:)LOL Anyway, the candles are awesome! They come in really cute jars with a little metal handle, and there is a recipe on each one for the food that goes with that scent. Other scents that I plan on adding to my collection include Creme Brulee, Pear Crisp, and Fresh Peach Cobbler. Mmmmm....makes for very yummy smells wafting through the air.

For more Things I Love Thursday, link up with Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chivalry, Part 7: A Transcendent Cause

Popeye Pictures, Images and Photos

What is a "transcendent cause?" Basically, it's what the world is lacking's what our boys are growing up without. That transcendent cause has only to do with one Person, Jesus Christ. According to Lewis, "A transcendent cause is not something we do in addition to everything else; instead it is the one factor that motivates everything we do." Most of our boys today are growing up and being taught that they have to work hard and go after the highest positions, climb that ladder of success, make something of themselves; all of this is good, but there's more to life than corporate success and financial wealth. They're missing something, if that is all that is important to them; most of them feel that void in their lives....and they may try to fill that void through certain activities that can be more damaging than anything.
So, how do we define "a transcendent cause? A transcendent cause must be truly heroic, timeless, and supremely meaningful."

There is a trend in kids and teens today....and I'm not saying all teens, but a lot of teens. A lot of teens are so focused on self that they miss the bigger picture. Yes, we need to teach them to have a healthy self-esteem, but if that's all we're focusing on, we are depriving them of so much more. This series is focusing on boys, but I believe we need to teach our kids, both girls and boys, about the world around them. We need to teach them that there is more to this life than just the here and now. We need to plant that seed of eternal urgency within their souls through our teaching, our example, and our everyday lives. We need to live our Christian lives out in front of and with them....take them on missions with you, let them help you serve in a soup kitchen, let them see you getting involved in your church, show them what it truly means to be a Christian.

We heard a sermon a couple of weeks ago by Pastor Bill Hybels. He talked about "your holy discontent." If you've never heard him speak, I really encourage you to. He started out talking about Popeye. Popeye had quite the temper if something upset him, especially when it came to defending his girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Remember how his muscles would swell up, and Popeye would say something like, "I've had all I can stand, I can't stands no more!" Pastor Hybels asked us to take a look deep inside of ourselves and find what it is in the world that starts that fire burning within us? What is it that we've "had all we can stand, and we can't stands no more?" There are so many ways that we can get involved in ministry in our world today; there are so many needs. You name it, from the AIDS crisis, to children starving, to crisis pregnancy centers, to helping the homeless, to working with youth, even to visiting your local nursing home or children's hospital. It doesn't take a multitude to move a mountain; it takes one person who is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to make things happen. It takes us getting beyond our own little worlds and focusing not on the here and now and the financial means, but focusing on what fires us up and gets us going. Pastor Hybels also suggested feeding that fire by getting involved. Even if you're not sure where your exact holy discontent lies, start doing things and exposing yourself to more opportunities....God will show you, and you will know when He does.

I share all of that because I really believe that it is vitally important for us as parents to first of all share the Gospel with our own kids....make sure they have a clear understanding of what it means to be a child of God. Our kids are our first priorities in any type of ministry. Secondly, feed the holy discontent that your kids may show. Expose them to different opportunities throughout their lives. Let them see a world beyond themselves....feed the fire within their souls. As you do this, God will work in their hearts and minds, and He will do something awesome! I can't imagine a greater piece to the puzzle of chivalry....

Be sure to stay with me next week for more. Any thoughts? Be sure to comment; I love to hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Winner of the Marmee Dear Giveaway

The Marmee Dear contest for issue one of The Homemaker Mentor's magazine has come to an end, and the winner is.....Alicia Webster! I'll be in contact with you, Alicia; congratulations! Thank you to everyone for participating; this was so much fun, and even though I couldn't respond to all of your wonderful comments, I so appreciate you all. Stay tuned for more random giveaways, and have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Motivate Me Monday- Be the Advocate

After dealing with a situation for a couple of weeks now with our son Jacob, I just have to remind all mothers to be the advocates for your children. I can't discuss every detail right now; we're waiting until we can get a definitive diagnosis with Jacob, but I would just like to share a little bit of what has been going on. This is quite personal, so I hesitate in sharing everything just yet. Jacob had been sick a couple of weeks ago, and we just didn't realize how sick he was; he basically had a rash and a low-grade fever.....we ended up not taking him to the doctor, but overnight he changed, and he has not been our same Jacob. Oh, sure, he is still our boy, and there are times where we can see the old Jacob in there, but he's struggling with some pretty heavy things right now. Anyway, I just had this gut feeling that I needed to do something, that something wasn't know, that instinctive feeling we mothers get when we know something is definitely wrong with our children. I did some research (hours of research, in fact), and I found what I truly believe with all my heart is wrong with Jacob. All of the symptoms fit Jacob down to the last details. We ended up taking him to a local walk-in clinic here (definitely don't recommend), and the doctor basically brushed us off as crazy parents....what would we, as outsiders to the medical profession, know (although I am a nurse, but still not a doctor)? I mean, we've only raised Jacob for 7 1/2 years now. Seriously, what could we know? (Only a wee bit of bitterness there).

Anyway, in dealing with that doctor, I cannot explain the feelings that rose up in me; it was as if the Mama Bear in me was being unleashed, and she was going to fight for her child, no matter what it took to get someone to listen. We ended up calling a friend of Dan's, who is married to one of the doctors where we used to take the kids, where we lived before. Dan was able to talk to his wife, the doctor, and she has actually seen cases of this before. I can't even begin to explain the relief that washed over us. Finally, someone was listening to us. She wants Jacob in there ASAP tomorrow morning for tests and not sure what else. She also told us that when you go to the doctor nowadays, you have to do what it takes for that doctor to listen to you, whether you have to stomp your feet or carry a baseball bat! So, I'm just writing all of this to emphasize how important it is for you to listen to your Mommy-gut; follow those instincts, you know, those instincts that won't leave you alone until you've done something about them. Those instincts are there for a reason....and if you don't fight for your child, who else will? Do the research; be willing to take a stand when necessary. Carry that baseball bat with you wherever you go! After all, we are all the "Mamas in the trenches," fighting the battle for our kids and families, day in and day out.

As we find out more from the doctors, I will be writing more in the days to come....especially, since I know there are other parents out there whose children are having these same problems, and their doctors may have misdiagnosed stay tuned.

For more Motivate Me Monday, link up with Composing Hallelujahs.

Daybook for July 27, 2009

For Today, Monday, July 27, 2009...

Outside my window... it is sunny with some clouds; we need to get outside before the rainy days hit us.

I am thinking... about so many things that I'm not sure I can name just one.

From the learning rooms... we are doing just a tad bit of school, really not much; just enough to keep the brain working....we're doing a lot of life learning right now with more hands on stuff, not really "unschooling," but I like to call it "summer funschooling.":)

I am thankful for... being able to get out and enjoy the great outdoors with my family.

From the kitchen... we are trying a new recipe tonight for the CREW. Jacob gets to help make it, Baked Parmesan Chicken.

I am wearing... blue shorts and my gray volleyball t-shirt.

I am reading... It Happened in Italy and tons of other books/magazines....reading is such a great thing.

I am hoping... to get our plants in the ground this afternoon; we're ex
perimenting a little bit.

I am creating... still working on curtains and organizing.

I am praying... that the doctor will be able to see what's going on with Jacob and give us some answers tomorrow.

Around the house... we dusted, vacuumed, and mopped today.

One of my favorite things... is being able to get outside in the sunshine and just play with the rides together, especially.

A few plans for the rest of the week... some school; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; errands/library; haircut and trip to the doctor's tomorrow, as well as going to see Mom; get Jacob registered for the fall soccer season; church; writing assignments & work; etc. Possibly getting ready to take a long weekend vacation....we shall see.:)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you: (4 mile bike ride yesterday on the Galloway Trails)(I am so not loving the helmet look....)

For more Daybook, link up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random Giveaway: Marmee Dear

Well, it's that time again; time for a random giveaway! I just love giveaways; it's so much fun to give, plus I get to meet lots of fellow bloggie makes the world just a tad bit smaller.:)
This time, our giveaway prize comes from Marmee Dear! Marmee has generously donated a copy of The Homemaker's Mentor Magazine, Issue One. This issue is full of wonderful homemaking tips, advice, poems, and lessons; some of the subjects include Preserving by Dehydration, Fruitful Delights, For the Love of Laundry, Menu Sheets, and more! There are 100 pages of wonderfully, colored illustrations and topics.

Just to give you a little backgroun
d on Marmee Dear, I thought I'd add the description from her site:
Welcome to MarmeeDear & Co, LLC where you will find all things precious & pleasant for the Home Circle. The shoppe offers items that Marmee has used in her own home, because she has found the items work well, are very useful and are a delight to own. It is my desire, as owner of MarmeeDear, to make these items available by mail order to homemakers around the world. I strive to make my customers feel as if they are visiting my home, allowing me to share what I have used and what has worked for me. I want each customer to leave my "home" feeling as if they have found a new friend. MarmeeDear is not just about purchasing quality goods, it is like a trip to town to the Family General Store to purchase merchandise. Customers will leave the shoppe with a bit of inspiration and encouragement - things that money can't buy. For all who enter my "web home," I offer, free of charge - kindness, unequalled customer service, encouragement, fellowship with a kindred spirit, and new ideas to inspire you in your pursuit of the high calling as a wife and mother in your own home. I wish to encourage you that the most important work you will ever do will be accomplished within the walls of your own home.
From my heart to yours~
Thank you for visiting ~ All of you dearies are such a blessing to me!

Marmee not only has the store website, but also a blog at Marmee's Musings. She also operates The Homemaker's Mentor website, which helps homemakers to fulfill their calling by offering lessons in the different skills they need to polish up on or even learn from scratch.To enter the giveaway, you can do one or more of the following; just be sure to leave a separate comment on here for each of the steps you've done(the more steps you do below, the more chances you have of winning):

1) Leave me a comment on what you like about this prize or your favorite quality about it.
2) Go check out Marmee's blog, Marmee's Musings, and be sure to leave her a comment while you're there.
3) Follow my blog, over on the left-hand sidebar....or subscribe to it.
4) Tweet about this giveaway over on Twitter!
5) Compose a blog post on your own blog about this giveaway, and make sure to link back to Heart Prints!
6) If you love the sounds of this prize, head on over to Marmee Dear's store or even The Homemaker's Mentor, and purchase something that will be very useful to you in your own homemaking endeavors.

I'll be using an online number generator to draw the winners, and the winners will be announced on Tuesday, July 28, just to give more readers a chance to enter, since the weekend can be pretty hectic. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Funnies- Devoted Husband

I have to thank my friend, Nancy, for sharing this with me; it made me laugh out loud.:)For more Friday Funnies, link up with Homesteaders Heart!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Nathanael Greene Park

Since Jacob went with Daddy today to the shop, Jaden and I decided to spend the morning at the park, Nathanael Greene Park. I fell in love with this park. It is about 113 acres, and we still have areas to explore; we didn't find the Japanese Stroll Gardens yet, but I'm thinking we will in time. The park is just so beautiful, though. It is full of botanical gardens and flowers, all different kinds of flowers; you name it, they had it. We got to go see the butterflies in the Butterfly House, which was really cool, because there were tons of them, flying around from flower to flower. There is an old homestead in the park also, the Gray-Campbell Homestead. The walking trails were fabulous, going around the huge duckpond, in and out of the woods, over streams, up through was just really beautiful. We had a great time, and I think the plan is to go back for a picnic tomorrow with Jacob; maybe then we can find the Japanese Stroll Gardens.

For more Things I Love Thursday, link up with Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Need of Some Artistic Talent

Ok, so I never claimed to be a big, fancy artist, and I've definitely never really had any artistic talent when it comes to sculpting, drawing, or whatever the project may be. Today only serves to seal the deal. It's official: I have no artistic bent at all in my bones....LOLOL. Poor Jacob; I really did try to help him make a cool Mycenaean helmet (I really didn't tell him that a lot of parents probably don't help their kids make really cool helmets, as we were fashioning this horrible atrocity; I know, I'm hanging my head in shame right now). I have to admit, though; this is a really pathetic excuse for a Mycenaean looks like half a Pacman covered in marshmallow cream or something. By golly, though, when we make the shield on Friday, it will be awesome! And you know why? Because it will be all made out of cardboard and no paper mache....all I have to do is help him cut it out, and then his artistic pursuits can carry him wherever he wants on decorating it.

Ok, so we still have to paint this helmet. You think it will help? Nah......didn't think so. Yikes, at least it's atrocious enough to scare the enemy away....LOL.

Chivalry, Part 6: A Knight's Code

knight Pictures, Images and Photos

Oy vei! This chapter, chapter 5, was sooooo good, and it was chock full of such great information and so many bits of wisdom, that it's going to be hard for me to narrow this post down. I will probably add a few quotes, as well as tidbits that I took away from reading this chapter. I hope it speaks to your heart as it did to mine.

I have to start with this quote from Lewis' sixth grade teacher, and I think I could do a whole other blog post, totally unrelated to chivalry, on this quote alone; it's very powerful, so I'll let it speak for's in relation to promoting ethics vs. moral compromise in our children: "You are what you are when no one is looking." Does that not stab you in the gut? I know it did me. Powerful stuff.

Lewis puts forth that when dads teach their sons and instill in them values and ethical standards and promotes honesty and boundaries, that this "forever strengthens" his sons. These things will stay with our sons for the duration of their lives, and they will never forget, especially when it is taught in everyday life through circumstances and situations.

I thought that these two lists were also very powerful; they compare the seven major problems reported by schools in 1940 and now:
1. Talking out of turn
2. Chewing gum
3. Making noise
4. Running in the halls
5. Cutting in line
6. Violating the dress code
7. Littering
1. Drug abuse
2. Alcohol abuse
3. Pregnancy
4. Suicide
5. Rape (wow, this one startled me; in our schools?!)
6. Robbery
7. Assault
(CBS Evening News, 1987)

Wow, that was back in 1987; I wonder what it would be like now? One thing we can see from this is that as parents, we have to raise our children up in the nurturing and admonition of the Lord; we can't let their friends raise them; we can't let television raise them; we can't let their Sunday school teacher raise them; we certainly can't let their teachers and schools raise them. It is up to us to make sure that they are being taught and raised with a Godly influence. It is extremely crucial, especially in these times. I'll give an example, that I'm not sure really fits in with this, but I just feel led to give it. Recently, in the news, I heard a shocking story of a neighborhood waking up to at least fifty vehicles having been vandalized by having no tires, or the tires were slashed. This was a pretty nice subdivision down in the Branson area. I wondered who would do such a thing; boy was I shocked to find out that it was two twelve year old boys. How did this happen? How did two twelve year old boys sneak out in the middle of the night to do such a huge act of vandalism? More importantly (and I don't mean to judge, but I'm trying to make a point here), where were their parents? Did they know that their kids were out this late, at twelve years old? Did they know if they snuck out? Or did they let them go out alone? It made me wonder about my own he gets older, what kind of boundaries will be set? What things do I need to be teaching my son, so that he doesn't have that desire to do something so drastic? This job of raising kids is going to take a lot of prayer and perseverance on our part as parents.

Knights had a specific code of conduct to follow, the components of which were loyalty, behaving as a champion, chivalry and respect and love towards women, and a spirit of generosity. Lewis emphasizes three areas for us to be centering our teaching around with our sons: "A will to obey (God's will); A work to do (according to his own unique design); A woman to love." If we teach our sons and help to prepare them for life in these three areas, they are going to have a better handle and perspective on life.

A Will to Obey:
"True satisfaction in life is directly proportionate to one's obedience to God. In this context, moral boundaries become benefits, not burdens." Our best source for childrearing honestly isn't a radio show, and it's not the Supernanny book....nope, it's the Bible, God's Word. He has given us all the pieces we need for the puzzle of child-rearing right there in that book; all we have to do is pray for discernment and listen for His voice; dig in the Word. (I think it's going to take a lot of digging in our house. LOL) Lewis gives us the ideals for our young knights to work towards: "Loyalty, Servant-Leadership, Kindness, Humility, Purity, Honesty, Self-Discipline, Excellence, Integrity, and Perseverance." (If you'd like the verses for these, I will be happy to send them to you by email; there are quite a few, so I won't take the time to post all of them here) One verse in particular that really stuck out to me was 1 Timothy 4:12- Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." I wish I had seen this verse when I was younger, and maybe I did, but I wish I had taken it to heart. So many of our kids are taught good, moral values, but they are succumbing to peer pressure, as I know I did too on certain things. I didn't want to be the odd ball out. This is a straight and true piece of wisdom from Heaven above: it's almost as if it says, "Who cares what everyone else thinks about you because you are doing what's right? Who cares what they think if you don't want to drink? Who cares what they say if you don't want to have sex until you're married? Who cares what they say if you don't want to go against your parents? Who cares what they say if you don't want to smoke that cigarette? Don't let that deter you from following God's will! I am God your Father, and I am telling you to show them what I am all about; show them how much my love can change their my example, my messenger of hope....." I love this verse, and I plan to encourage my own boys with it some day when I know they are going to face many pressures. As stated before, it's important for us as parents not only to teach our kids values, but we have to live those values; they are going to mimic what they see in us; it's a fact of life. I've read many things lately on using Scripture in every aspect of our teaching, even memorizing Scripture with our children. Lewis also advises reading to your boys; read stories of real-life and fictional heroes and men who have lived courageous lives. As I said above, though, what we live, how we live, and things we do each and every day with our kids are teaching opportunities, and usually, it's what they learn during these times that's going to stick with them for life and "forever strengthen" them. One aspect that a lot of parents struggle with is the aspect of discipline. It's so easy to just dish out discipline in the heat of the moment and not even talk with our kids about what happened, what they did wrong. Lewis proposes teaching obedience through "affirmation, attention, and discipline." It's so easy for us to be angry and just shell out the punishment; I know a lot of times for me, it's grounding Jacob for something. But how often have I sat down and actually discussed why he's being punished with him? How often have I used that as a teaching moment? I hang my head in shame because it hasn't been very often. Discipline needn't be a negative thing. And it's also vital that we praise them for doing the right thing....I know I definitely need to work on this aspect also. Remember, patience is a virtue; that's why it's so difficult.

A Work to Do:
As a homeschooling mom, I've done a lot of reading on this exact subject. It's important for us, as parents, homeschooling or not, to find what clicks with our boys. Find what they love to do, and go with it. Find what makes them tick, what makes their eyes light up with wonder and amazement and curiosity. Find their learning styles. Figure out where their gifts lie. As you find these out, encourage the gifts. Give your sons the chance to really work with these gifts and use them, not only in regards to life work, but in regards to spirituality as well. Help him gain focus as he grows older, so that might be able to discern more easily where God might have him to work.

A Woman to Love:
It's also vital that we teach our sons to love and honor women because some day they may be married. Even if they aren't married, it's important for them to learn how to treat the opposite sex with respect and dignity. Chivalry plays a huge role here. Ephesians 5:25-30 is a Scriptural outline for husbands. So many modern theories and propaganda refute this last step, but as Lewis says: "Men are called by God to love, lead, and honor their wives." In the past, I have partly considered myself to lean towards the feminist side (mostly out of trying to buck the hard core blatant disregard for women I had observed and gone through in certain church situations in my life), but God has started to truly bring a change over my mindset. Is it wrong for a woman to stand up for herself? No, not necessarily, if done in the right manner and under the authority of God's Word. Is it wrong for a woman to have thoughts and opinions of her own? No, certainly not. It's when we let our thoughts and opinions buck the authority of God's Word, that we are wrong. All of our thoughts and actions have to be within the confines of God's Word. Dads have the primary role of teaching their sons, but as mothers and women ourselves, we can teach our sons how to respect women; after all, we alone know best what makes us tick ;)....we can teach them Godly manners and ways in which they can be of help to young ladies and also how they can be a friend to young ladies. The last thing we want our sons to do is grow up to be overbearing, helpless, immoral men who have no regard for their wives....

I know this was quite long, and I'm sorry if it was just too much, but I had to include everything, or you might miss out. I loved this chapter, and I hope that it helped you, even if in some small way. Any thoughts or suggestions? I love your comments and input! More to come next week....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gratituesday: Good Friends

On this Gratituesday, I am just so thankful for good friends. There's one friend in particular that I am so thankful for. In fact, this friend has been around since college, and we've never lost touch. On busy days that are hectic and when it seems like we are going crazy, we keep each other grounded. At least, she helps to keep me grounded.:) Her name is Nancy, and she too is a fellow blogger over at My Family and Books, Blogging, and the Beach.

When I first met Nancy, we were at our first ever dorm meeting at college.We didn't know each other, but we were thrown headfirst into performing a skit together to illustrate a point our dorm mom had to make. I had to dress up like a guy, and Nancy had to be my girlfriend. We have laughed and laughed over that silly skit....and no, I don't have any pictures, but I so wish I did. Nancy had the famous yellow dress on that night, the same dress we used even later on down the road when we tried our hand at making a silly movie at camp.

We spent a summer together working at Camp Streamside, teaching our campers the YMCA from the porch railings of our cabins. We even rode a train from New York to Missouri, snoring Amishmen and all. One summer, we both stayed in the dorms, just us two. We worked during the days, but in the evenings, we caught up on old movies and just hung out. I seem to remember sneaking a couple of cats into the dorm that summer, one of which is still living with my mom, seeing as I got caught red-handed one day when my stereo alarm went off while I was at work, blasting loud music right above the vice-president's office. Yeah, that was fun.:)LOL

Nancy and I got ourselves into so many "pickles" in college, but we had so much fun together. Now, we're both married and mommies too....There's not a day goes by that I don't get on to talk to Nancy. She keeps me sane on those hairy days, and she's just such an encouragement. Through our struggles to lose weight and eat healthy to our struggles just as Christian women, we're there for each other as sisters and friends. I wish we could live next door to each other, Nancy. I miss ya so much, but every day just knowing that you're going to be online makes my day ever so much brighter. I love ya, sista!

For more Gratituesday, link up with Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Motivate Me Monday- Stepford?

Lately, I've been reading the book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald. I highly recommend it. I've had so many thoughts to ponder that I just want to share a few.

It's so easy sometimes for us to fall into the rut of comparing ourselves to other wives and moms. We might see something they are teaching their children, and we might begin to question if we're teaching our kids enough. One mom may be feeding her kids all organic foods, and we begin to search out whether or not we are feeding our kids healthy enough. Another mom may clean and scrub her house in a very organized and methodical manner, and we question whether or not we are keeping things as well as we should. Another mom may have a very specific schedule, where she rises very early, but we just can't seem to make it up quite that early. The list could go on and on. But it doesn't have to.

Consider this verse with me for just a moment: She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness- Proverbs 31:27. Look at that first part again: She looketh well to the ways of her household. Whose household? Her household. It doesn't say her friend's household, and it doesn't say her neighbor's household. It says her household. It's so easy for us to fall into that Stepford wanna-be category of motherhood, and perfection just isn't possible. If we strive for perfection, we are only going to end up spending less time with our husbands and children, and we're going to burn out and become irritated and very unhappy, possibly even taking our emotions out on others. We won't have that peace that comes when we're living out the exact plan that God has for us.

The world says that being a stay at home mom is an unhappy, grunt job; but, ya know? They're wrong....being a stay at home mom is a calling, probably the highest calling one could ever receive. We are raising the next generation that is going to grow up and become our health care workers, our lawyers, our leaders. How is that a grunt job? Oh, certainly, there are days when it can feel that way, but usually, it's because we're striving to be what we are not and never can be.

One piece of advice I carried away from this book is that perfection is just not possible. That Stepford wife may have everything running like clockwork, but inside, she's just a robot. We, as wives and moms, need to encourage each other. Not only that, but we need to feed ourselves on God's Word. Maybe getting up at 5am isn't your thing (trust me, it's definitely not my cup of tea), and maybe you feed your kids hot dogs for lunch. So be it....yes, a quiet time with the Lord is necessary in order for us to grow, but as Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald say in their book, maybe that quiet time will come in tidbits throughout the day, instead of one huge rush in the morning before the kids wake up. Maybe stash little Bibles throughout your house, so that when you have a sec, you can read a verse. Pray throughout the day....if our children see us spending time with God, praying and meditating throughout our days, what a great example for them. What a wonderful thing for them to witness.

So, today, I encourage you to find your niche. Find what works for your house; your family. Find what works for you, not your best friend, not your neighbor, not the friend you go to homeschooling meetings with. I'm not saying you shouldn't have some sort of routine or schedule; you should, but the schedule and routine you have should be totally yours. If something needs tweaking, be flexible, and roll with it. Just find what works, and find what makes your family work. In the end, "
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her- Proverbs 31:28.

For more Motivate Me Monday, link up with Composing Hallelujahs!

Daybook for July 20, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, July 20. 2009...
Outside my window... it is growing dark, as I'm writing this the evening before.:)
I am thinking... that this new schedule I'm trying will work, since last week's schedule was a complete flop; just gotta tweak it a bit and find what works for my family.
I am thankful for... my children; they give me so many new reasons to love them even more every single day.
From the learning rooms... we're going to finish up our volcano today in history; Jacob can't wait to make it erupt. We're just taking a more relaxed approach for the rest of the summer, doing some school in the mornings but not worrying about every single subject.
From the kitchen... tonight will be homemade salisbury steaks with onion gravy and noodles.
I am wearing... jammies right now.
I am creating... curtains; yep, I'm a definite procrastinator; I'm not sure what I was going through last week, but I was somewhat burnt out, I guess....
I am going... possibly to take Jaden to the doctor today, seeing as he is still running fevers and starting to not sleep well at night. Usually, signs of an ear infection....just not sure.
I am reading... It Happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina.
I am hoping... to really start getting some articles pushed out for Ehow; hopefully, to just stay motivated this week and to not be so worn out....last week was rough.
I am hearing... quiet, as well as the tv in the living room. Dan's watching one of his Discovery shows.
Around the house... I have to dust, vacuum, and mop today; catch up on laundry.
One of my favorite things... is time to just relax and veg out.
A few plans for the rest of the week: School; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; hopefully, get Jaden better; farmer's market in Ozark while Jacob's at TKD; library/errands; church; writing assignments. I'd love to go see the Extreme Home Makeover Reveal on Tuesday, but I'm not sure I'll be able to take Jaden out.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...(this beach would feel so wonderful right now; I can just feel the sun beating down on me and the spray of the waves as they come tumbling in; can't you?)
For more Daybook, check out more on The Simple Woman.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Funnies- Misfit Dentist

Ok, so who doesn't get a kick out of Tim Conway? I mean, he is one hilarious man!:)LOL I always liked him in Shaggy Dog, where he was dressed up as the private investigator, and he was muttering, "You're off the gravy train...." LOL He cracks me up. Anyway, enjoy the video.:)

For more Friday Funnies, link up with Homesteaders Heart.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chivalry, Part 5: Let Boys Be Boys

Boys Climbing Tree Pictures, Images and Photos
This will probably be rather short, as it's pretty late, and I am fighting myself to stay awake for some reason tonight. Last week, I mentioned about manhood and how Jesus is such a powerful example of true, unwavering manhood. We, as mothers, have a responsibility to teach our children about Jesus. Jesus was the perfect example. "A real man is one who: rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward...God's reward" (Robert Lewis in Raising a Modern-Day Knight). Tonight, the part about passivity kind of reached out to tug at my heart. Lewis talks about how boys are very adventurous and want to explore; as they become men, aggressive behavior seems to dominate their spirit. Only when it comes down to their spiritual and social responsibilities, does that aggressive spirit kind of take a back seat a lot of times. I know this may not make much sense....after all, my eyelids are drooping right now, but I've really asked God to help me to write the words He'd have me say, and this is what is standing out to me for some reason....

As moms, we need to encourage our boys to be explorers. Whether they're exploring in the grass for bugs, or exploring by climbing trees, or even whether they're exploring through reading, we need to encourage them to explore the world around them, the world that their Heavenly Father has created. Sometimes we can be so afraid of what might happen to them, that we don't foster that spirit of independence in them that they need....encouraging them to explore the world around them will only serve to make them even more curious about the One Who created it all. The other night, on the way home from Tae Kwon Do, out of the blue, Jacob started a whole conversation with me about the sun and the moon, and where they go when they're not in the sky? He had so many questions, and we just talked; it was one of those conversations where I didn't have all the answers to his questions, but we explored through was wonderful! So, today, I just encourage you to let your boys be boys; let them climb that tree, of course, with a watchful eye and even a prayer maybe, but let them. See the look on their faces when they've accomplished something like that. They probably won't be able to stop talking about it the rest of the day. It will foster a spirit of adventure that will last a lifetime.

In teaching our boys responsibility, we should be letting our boys help us....let them help with household chores. I know in our house now, we have two bathrooms, and it's my goal to teach Jacob how to clean his own toilet. Yeah, I know, it's not a major thing (actually, it could be a little scary for me....yikes, Jacob with a toilet brush....not sure that's a good combination), but it's teaching him to take responsibility. Let your boys take out your trash....teach them to work in the garden and even wash dishes. These are all things that they need to know how to do some day, and in teaching them these things, we are instilling in them values. Plus, some day their wives will appreciate that we taught them how to clean a toilet and wash dishes.:)LOL
Anyway, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and get your kids active in helping out around the house or even being more adventurous, even if it's in their own back yard.

Any thoughts/comments? I love to hear feedback....:) Stay tuned for more next week.

And the Winners Are....

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos
Wow, these giveaways have been so fun, and you all have been so awesome to participate! I really appreciate all of your comments....even though I can't answer every single one, I appreciate all of you so much and am so happy that you visited Heart Prints and participated in the three days of blogoversary giveaways!

So, without further adieu, the winners are....(drumroll please!)

Day One: The winner of the Scrapbook Store at Your Door giveaway: Tonya from Wisconsin.

Day Two: The winner of the Marie-Madeline Studio giveaway: Renee G.

Day Three: The winner of the Tags-n-Stones giveaway: Amyd29.

Congratulations to the winners! I will email you to give you the details of how to obtain your gifts....thanks again to everyone else who participated. I am thinking of doing future giveaways on my blog at certain times through each month, so stay tuned for more details. Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays- Chicken Salad Panini

On busy evenings when we're torn here and torn there, it's nice to know that we don't need to run through that yuck drive-through over at the local fast-food restaurant; it's nice to know there's something so easy to make waiting at home; or if you're like me, you might have quickly put it together at lunch, and it's waiting for you in the fridge when you get home. With taking Jacob to Tae Kwon Do two to three nights a week, it kinda puts a damper on supper, or it can, I should say; but it doesn't have to. I've been on the lookout for seriously easy recipes that I can just throw together at lunch and have waiting for us when we get home at night. This way, we can eat halfway healthy and even sit down together with more time to eat, since we're not having to cook a huge, elaborate meal. I am trying a new recipe today, and so far it tastes great. I found this over at Kraft Foods, which is a really great place to find recipes of all kinds. It's their Chicken Salad Panini. The best thing about this is that having a whole chicken yesterday for supper, we had leftover chicken, and I didn't have to cook at all for this. Enjoy!

For more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, link up over at BlessedwithGrace!

Update: Actually, when we were getting the bread out tonight, the tortillas fell out of the box, and Dan and I both looked at each other and grinned. We ended up putting the chicken salad with some tomatoes and shredded cheese into the tortillas and frying them. They were like chicken salad chalupas. They were soooooooo good! Another family favorite found!:)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Please Pray!

I just have a simple prayer request. A good friend of mine, Missie, is in surgery right now; the doctor is saying she had a tubal pregnancy/miscarriage, and her fallopian tube has burst. Please pray for Missie and her family right now. She has really been through so much in her life; just pray for physical healing for her, as well as emotional healing; and just that God will get her through all of this safely. Thanks so much.

Daybook for July 13, 2009

FOR TODAY, Monday, July 13, 2009...
Outside my is kinda cloudy but still looks really humid.
I am thinking...of blogging about what I read last night concerning devotions and quiet time; it really made sense to me, and I'd like to share.

I am thankful for...good books that fill my mind with knowledge; there's always something to learn in everything.
From the learning rooms...we are starting our volcano project today in history, since we're studying about Crete in ancient's even going to erupt later on this week.:)
From the kitchen...tonight will be a baked chicken, mashed taters, and maybe some green beans or corn on the cob.
I am shorts and a white Barbados t-shirt.
I am creating...a new schedule; I'm trying something new out this week. I have such a hard time getting up early and really being focused on my writing, since my eyes try to keep crossing on me. I'm going to try staying up later at night, writing, instead and sleep a little later in the morning, meaning 6:30 or 7 by later.:)
I am going...nowhere today, hopefully.
I am reading...still reading Desperate Housewives Passionate for God. It's really good.
I am get an extension on my writing assignment from my instructor, since I am so behind.
I am hearing...silence right now; Jacob's writing.
Around the house...have to vacuum and mop still today and finish up laundry, plus maybe clean some glass....little fingerprints can really take over.
One of my favorite fresh peaches and nectarines; yum!
A few plans for the rest of the week: draw winners for my blogoversary giveaways; school; Jacob to Tae Kwon Do; errands and library; church; get some ground dug up outside for our plants; get some curtains up in the kitchen; possibly take the boys swimming; writing assignments and work; possibly take advantage this weekend of getting into national parks for free (not sure where yet, but we'll see); etc.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...(one of my favorite places in Central Park; pay no attn to the date on this pic)For more Simple Woman, link up with Peggy.

Blogoversary Giveaway: Day Three!

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos

Today marks the last prize for our blogoversary giveaway! This has just been so much fun!

Today's prize comes from Christina over at Tags-n-Stones.She has a beautiful collection of "personalized, hand-stamped sterling silver and gold-filled tags, with precious stones." In the spirit of summer, the winner will get to choose an ankle bracelet with as many initial charms and stones as her heart desires; if she's not an ankle bracelet person, she can choose to make it a bracelet instead. I love the fact that this gift is absolutely customized and personalized for the winner.

Christina is a mom, along with her job as a columnist for the Cleveland Sun News. She has a style blog, Real Style Real People, where she discusses anything and everything, including fashion and style.

To enter the giveaway, you can do one or more of the following; just be sure to leave a separate comment on here for each of the steps you've done(the more steps you do below, the more chances you have of winning):

1) Leave a comment on what you like about this prize or your favorite quality about it.
2) Go check out either of Christina's blogs,Tags-n-Stones or Real Style Real People, and be sure to leave her a comment.
3) Follow my blog, over on the left-hand sidebar....or subscribe to it.
4) Tweet about this giveaway over on Twitter!
5) Compose a blog post on your own blog about this giveaway, and make sure to link back to Heart Prints!
6) If you love Christina's collection of unique and amazing jewelry, go check out Tags-n-Stones, and purchase something beautiful for yourself, personalized only for you.

I'll be using an online number generator to draw the winners, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 15, just to give more readers a chance to enter. Have a great Monday, everyone!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway: Day Two!

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos

Well, today marks exactly one year! Happy Blogoversary, Heart Prints!

Today's giveaway prize comes from the fabulous Long Ladies over at Marie-Madeline Studio.These wonderful ladies have offered to give the lucky winner an apron pattern of your choice, choosing from Chic Sisters, Pleated Cottage, or Frilly Fandango; PLUS, the fabric to make your apron. Their fabrics are so vibrant and full of beautiful colors, that it might be hard to choose from all the different ones they carry.:)Marie-Madeline Studio is actually a family-owned business, in which they started out just making cute handbags for family and friends. It eventually grew into an online business in December of 2007. They offer handbags, aprons, clothing for young girls and ladies, patterns, and fabric! They also sell their items on Etsy. You can even visit their blog and get more of a feel for who these ladies are and what is going on with different projects; or you could sign up for their newsletter.

To enter the giveaway, you can do one or more of the following; just be sure to leave a separate comment on here for each of the steps you've done(the more steps you do below, the more chances you have of winning):

1) Leave a comment on what you like about this prize or how you would use it.
2) Go check out the Marie-Madeline Studio blog, and leave them a comment.
3) Follow my blog, over on the left-hand sidebar....or subscribe to it.
4) Tweet about this giveaway over on Twitter!
5) Compose a blog post on your own blog about this giveaway, and make sure to link back to Heart Prints!
6) Sign up for the Marie-Madeline Studio newsletter.
7) If you love their products, head on over to Marie-Madeline Studio, and make a purchase for your next project.

I'll be using an online number generator to draw the winners, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 15, just to give more readers a chance to enter; I know the weekend can be a really busy time. Have a great weekend, everyone, and don't forget to stop by tomorrow to check out our last blogoversary giveaway!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blogoversary Giveaway: Day One!

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos

It's hard to believe that it's already been one year, since I started Heart Prints. It's really exciting, not just because Heart Prints has grown, but because I love being able to reconnect with friends; plus, I've met so many other women/friends online, and I just love all the people I've been able to get to know through blogging. Blogging really does make for "a small world." Anyway, to celebrate, I thought it was high time for some giveaways....three great prizes will be given away over the next three days, one for each make sure to come back and check to see, so you don't miss out!

To kick off today, the prize comes from Julie Crossley over at Scrapbook Store at Your Door!

Mommy's Idea

It is a really beautiful Flourish Acrylic Stamp made by BoBunny, as well as a set of Crop & Glue Adhesive Micro Squares. The stamp is so pretty; it has such an elegant design to it. It even comes in its own clear storage container, much like a cd case.

Scrapbook Store at Your Door is an online store that is just brimming with all kinds of albums, embellishments, stamps, beautiful paper, and anything else you could possibly need to make beautiful scrapbooks filled with all of your special memories.

If you're on Facebook, Julie sends out a challenge every Monday with ideas on a new project for you to create. She also has several cute ideas on her blog, Special Craft Mom. Check it out, and get inspired!

To enter the giveaway, you can do one or more of the following; just be sure to leave a separate comment on here for each of the steps you've done(the more steps you do below, the more chances you have of winning):

1) Leave a comment on what you like about this product or how you would use it.
2) Go check out Julie's blog, Special Craft Mom, and be sure to leave her a comment.
3) Follow my blog, over on the left-hand sidebar....or subscribe to it.
4) Tweet about this giveaway over on Twitter!
5) Compose a blog post on your own blog about this giveaway, and make sure to link back to Heart Prints!
6) If you love scrapbooking, go check out Scrapbook Store at Your Door, and purchase something for your next album.

I'll be using an online number generator to draw the winners, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 15, just to give more readers a chance to enter; I know the weekend can be a really busy time. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Funnies- Eleisha Miller with an E

Well, last night I knew I had found my post for Friday Funnies, because this little girl just cracked me up! She is so incredibly cute, and she's just got that magnetic stage personality. I think I might have even found a match for Jacob, personality wise....LOL. She's definitely not bashful, which is what cracks me up. That giggle is just infectious. I love the part at the end where she tells her dad that she "dealed with it" when Sharon told her no....LOL. Too cute! Laugh it up, and Happy Friday!:)

For more Friday Funnies, link up with Homesteaders Heart!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Judge....or Maybe Not To Judge....

I have a confession to make....but first, let me explain a little background behind all this. My cousin, Cindy, came over today, and we got to talking about Michael Jackson, leading to a discussion on how we sometimes judge people when we really don't even know them. It really got me thinking....

I wrote the post about Michael Jackson the other day because I had seen so much "bashing" on Facebook towards him, just after his death. It had really upset me to see so many people basically making light of the whole situation. If I sounded judgmental towards Michael in any way in that post, well, I'm probably guilty. You see, I've known people who judge whether or not another human being is saved, and I absolutely just despise it when someone does that....and I found myself almost guilty of implying that in my post. For that, I am truly sorry....I never meant to imply that at all. I have no right, and honestly, there's no way I can judge another person's salvation. Only God sees the heart. I pray with all my heart that somehow Michael was saved, especially after watching his little girl get up on stage at his memorial and cry, talking about her daddy; all the while, I was bawling too. He was really an amazingly kind person, according to a lot of things I have read and seen....he had a huge heart; and I don't care what our beliefs are or what kind of music we like or don't like, but he did have amazing talent.

I say all this to say that I am sometimes guilty of pre-judging others, whether by outward appearance or how they act. But, ya know, I don't know what that person has been through, and I don't know how their day has gone. Maybe they've just had the most "craptastic" day ever! Who am I to say? What I can do is say a little prayer for that person and flash them my most charming smile; just listen to what they have to say....

Just a little peek into one of my "ah-ha's." Thanks, Cindy....

Announcing....Sweet Giveaway....

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos

In honor of my first blogoversary, I'll be holding three giveaways, starting this weekend. There will be one each day, starting make sure to stay tuned, and don't miss a thing!:) I'm keeping the gifts a surprise until then; you'll just have to come check it out!:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chivalry, Part 4: Turn in the Road

Jesus holding child Pictures, Images and Photos

I read part of chapter four tonight in Raising a Modern-Day Knight. This book is really good, and I'm gleaning a lot of wisdom from it, but I feel a little uncomfortable addressing a book that is speaking pretty much, directly to men, fathers in particular. So, I've decided to take a turn in the road and not so much tell you everything Lewis says in the book, but I'm going to give you more of my perspective as a mother....I'll still be sharing things I read, but I want to make this more of a topic for us as women, in my own style.:) Yes, it's still an issue for fathers, a very important issue, but as mothers, I really believe we play a huge role in who our sons will grow up to be as well.

Tonight as I was reading, I noticed something that I think I disagree with, but I'm not totally certain yet. I still have to delve into the book a little deeper. The author talked about how in certain countries they have ceremonies for a boy to become a man, some of these ceremonies quite traumatizing for a young boy....and that is their culture; it is what they are used to. Here, we don't have these ceremonies; in America, we really don't have any one certain rite of passage for a boy to become a man. He talks as if we need these rites of passage, so that boys can know that they are men.....I'm not so sure I agree with this. Just because a boy goes through a certain ceremony, does not make that boy a man. It does not bring him to that certain level of maturity that marks his passing over into manhood. Just from my perspective, only time and experience will bring maturity, thus leading to manhood.

One topic I did gain a lot of insight from, though, is the fact that there are two pictures of manhood in the Bible, two characters we can look back to, Adam and Jesus. Let me just focus on Jesus right now. As mothers, what better thing can we do, than to teach our children Who Jesus is? What better person can we focus on teaching our children about, than Jesus? Jesus gave up all and came to earth as a man, and He gave His all for us. He went through every single part of growing up that our boys will go through. What better picture of manhood can we give to our children, than our wonderful Saviour? Who better to point our boys to as they experience life, than the One Who loves them more than they could ever comprehend? As mothers, we have the opportunity to show Jesus to our children every day, not just in the stories we share and the words we say, but through every action and every reaction. I'll be the first to admit, not every action and reaction of mine is always a picture of what Jesus would do. This really gave me conviction as I read Jesus lies every answer I could possibly need in raising these boys to be chivalrous men....ponder it for a bit.

Leave a comment; share your thoughts....

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