Growing from 5 to 11

Michael and Suzanne say they’re just an ordinary family. They help out with homework, share family dinners, and try to keep their schedule straight. While this ordinary family started out with three children, God has been leading them on an adventure…

Through a study of Isaiah, God spoke to Suzanne through His Word, piercing her heart to “seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17) This was the start of a four-year journey leading Suzanne and her husband, Michael, to Ethiopia 3 separate times to adopt 6 precious children.

How in the world could they afford this?

Through the love, support, and generosity of their local orphan ministry, they received matching grants through Lifesong to help fundraise to meet the financial cost of each adoption. The dollar-for-dollar matching grants acted as a catalyst, encouraging others to give, while raising awareness of God’s great love for orphaned children. As He had before, God graciously provided:

 

“Through each expensive overseas adoption, the renovation to our home, numerous medical issues to take care, and buying a 15 passenger van to fit us all, God has provided, without fail, and we have no debt from any of the adoptions.” –Michael & Suzanne.

What a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness to those who trust and obey His Word, showing that He, as only He can, can do extraordinary things in ordinary families.

Posted in Adoption/Lifesong | Leave a comment
Judging…

There has been something interesting going on around Facebook land. Ok, maybe it is in regular life too…but, well, we all know Facebook is more public in a way…

People un-friending someone just because they don’t think the same way they do about something. It is for silly things a lot of the time.. Other times I know people feel strongly about a cause or what not, but some people are getting rid of friends just because they don’t feel the same way about a subject. If I did that, I wouldn’t have any friends on there! Who feels the same way as I do about everything? Nobody, thank goodness…That would be boring! And I do love hearing what people thing about different topics…

All of this tends to go hand in hand with judging people. Everyone does it. I think it is normal and expected to have people judge someone else, but I think it is what you do after judging someone else that more defines your character. Well hey, did I just judge? :P

JudgingOthers

I recall being judged about things early on… But when it really started was when I was older.

Here are some things I got judged for that I know about and/or remember:

1. Not swearing.
2. Not drinking coffee.3. Not having sex before marriage.
4. Getting married young.
5. Moving often.
6. Not getting an epidural.
7. Having children at a birth center and not a hospital.
8. Not having dance parties with my children.
9. The way we think about immunizations.
10. Homeschooling.
111. Being too Christian.
12. Not being Christian enough.
13. Being anti-social.
14. Driving a minivan.
15. Driving an SUV.
16. Not wanting to talk on the phone.
17. How much I love spending time with Jeffy.
18. That I am surrounded by birds.
19. Homeschooling.
20. That I enjoy spending time with my kids.

Ok, well, that’s a good start anyway, I am sure I could go on and on… Did I mention homeschooling? But really, some of those? I remember the dance party one like it was yesterday. I didn’t know it was such a ‘thing’ to not have dance parties with your kids. :shrug: And moving too often? No, I wasn’t on the run from the law as was talked about, I mean, really?

But see how this works? Out of those 20 things, I am sure nobody is 100% like me on all of them! And that is ok! I like it! I love that people are different! I couldn’t imagine un-friending someone on Facebook because they drank coffee…or hey, all of you who complain about having your kids around because school isn’t in session… That would significantly reduce my friends list right there!

Anyway, I don’t even know where this post was going, but I just wanted to get it off my chest so I don’t think about it anymore.
I am going to go and hang out with my friends on Facebook now.

Maybe I will see you there. ;)

Romans 14:1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.
Posted in Chit chat | 1 Comment
Spaghetti Squash

I am so excited to be a Nello’s Mombassador! :)

My new favorite marinara sauce is Nello’s! They had asked me to try their sauces and I am hooked!

I had been craving spaghetti squash and when a box wish jars of marinara sauce come to your door, it kind of puts things in motion! This is their original marinara, they also have hot red pepper sauce and a Piedmont Pomodoro sauce! Look for more recipes on the blog in the future! ;)

Spaghetti squash with Nello's Sauce

So, I thought I would make an easy meal and share it!

I know some people have never made a spaghetti squash before, but it is very easy. This whole meal is pretty easy!

For the squash, I just cut it in half lengthwise…it’s not like cutting butter though, so be careful! Then I put it face down in a baking dish with about 1/2 cup of water and cooked it for 45 minutes give or take. Until it is tender.

When it is done, it looks like this!

Spaghetti squash with Nello's Sauce

I decided that I wanted a little protein so I browned up some mild Italian sausage. Didn’t take very long at all!

Spaghetti squash with Nello's Sauce

I mix the sauce with the meat and then put it over some of the spaghetti squash that I just strung out with a fork and sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on top! Add a little garlic knot and a side salad and it is a yummy little meal!

Spaghetti squash with Nello's SauceNello’s is available at a ton of Whole Food’s stores, but if you are local, I have also found it at Weaver Street Co-op!

I will have more information on future posts with more featured meals! I love this sauce!!

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My March Stitch Fix

Sooo, I am a little behind in posting… Between health issues, school stuff and just general busyness, it seems like everything got pushed to the side…

This is my March Stitch Fix box! I did end up keeping everything in it, which surprised me!

I was so happy when my stylist found the jacket that I loved in a larger size! I talked about it on my blog here if you wanted to see what it looks like! I know the weather was going to start getting warmer, but I really loved that jacket! lol

Here are the rest of the things I got:

My March Stitch FixThis shirt doesn’t look like much just hanging there, but it fit great and it was a very comfortable material. And I love the color… :D

My March Stitch FixThis is a scarf that is half lace and half print. I loved it! The colors were fun and I like the little lace bit. I feel that it could be dressed up OR down…

My March Stitch FixThis sweater is a much prettier color than what is shown here, but I didn’t have time to adjust it. It is a pretty green/blue and the elbow patches are a deeper teal color. Now, this wasn’t my favorite, or Jeffy’s, but it was cheaper to get the whole box than just the four other things that I liked a lot more. I still wear it though…

My March Stitch FixThis sheer blouse was a color that I am always drawn to. The fit was a bit wide, but I think with a cami under it, it makes a little more sense. I could also wear the above scarf with it as well. :)

This box was less expensive than my first box, the most expensive thing was the jacket, which makes sense.

I feel like my stylist listened to me with this box, for the most part!

Have you ordered a Stitch Fix box yet? You can use my link here and try them out! I do get a little credit if you use my link, but you don’t have to.. :)

I love seeing what everyone else gets though, so let me know!!!

 

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When Calls The Heart {Review and Giveaway}

Woah…

Have any of you seen season one of When Calls The Heart? It is a great show!

Season two just premiered April 25th. The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West. It tells the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal mining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a turn of the century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

When Calls The Heart season 2

It stars Erin Krakow as Elizabeth, Lori Laughlin as Abigail and Daniel Lissing as Jack. And look, Jack Wagner is in there too!

What I like about these shows is that there is no strong language. It is a total family friendly show!

When I first started watching the new season, I was hooked right away! Especially when the new lawyer stepped out of the stagecoach. Um hm! I don’t want to talk about the show too much especially since it just premiered the other day! But the characters all do so well together, love the chemistry.

I would highly suggest watching all of season one before jumping into season two…it would make much  more sense! Here is the trailer for season one in case you haven’t seen the show…

And guess what? I am giving away a copy of just that! You can enter to win a When Calls the Heart Season one DVD set below!! It is being provided by Word Films. If you win, I know you will be hooked and want to dig right in to season two.. ;) You can see previews for that, and other little clips on their website here!

When Calls The Heart season 1 dvd set

Now, I had no idea about this, but fans of the show are called Hearties. So cute…anyway, if you love the show too, you MUST join the Hearties Facebook group!

I am assuming this is going to be another popular contest, so make sure you enter before the contest ends!!! :)

When Calls The Heart {Review and Giveaway}

 

 

 Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 

Posted in Reviews | 4 Comments
What I read in April

Howdy!

Seems I forgot about a book that I read last month on the What I read in March post, so I will include that this month. Just one for school that kind of squeaked in at the end of the month. It’s all good. I am doing great on my Goodreads challenge! I am up to 25 books out of 60, which is my goal! I am a little ahead, but we are having visitors for a bit next month and some out of town visits, so who knows how next month is going to go. Airplane rides always want me to read magazines, not books. :)

Please let me know what books you have read lately and liked! I keep adding them to my list at the library but I am thinking they expire before they get in…hmm.

Here is what I read in April and I am looking forward to hearing your book choices!!

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Brady by Jean Fritz – Brady has never been trusted with secrets, until now. When he discovers an Underground Railroad station near his family’s farm, he is forced to make his own decision about the slavery controversy. Whatever his decision may be, he knows that this is one secret that must be kept.

What I thought: I thought this book was wonderful! The story was told so well. The characters were great. I am glad they had that picture on the cover as it helped me figure out how big that space was that they mentioned in the book. :D

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In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen – In December 1992, three groups of teenagers head to the theater to see the movie version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. For Adam it’s a last ditch effort to connect with something (actually, someone, the girl he’s had a crush on for years) in his sleepy Florida town before he leaves for good. Passionate fan Sharon skips school in Cincinnati so she can fully appreciate the flick without interruption from her vapid almost-friends—a seemingly silly indiscretion with shocking consequences. And in suburban Chicago, Phoebe and Ollie simply want to have a nice first date and maybe fool around in the dark, if everyone they know could just stop getting in the way.

Over the next two decades, these unforgettable characters criss-cross the globe, becoming entwined by friendship, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy.

A razor-sharp, darkly comic page-turner, In Some Other World, Maybe sheds light on what it means to grow up in modern America.

What I thought: Well, it was ok. I tend to get confused when different story lines come and go as frequently as they do in this book. I could see what they were going for but it just didn’t work for me. I see it as more of a tv show or something. :shrug:

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Classic Myths to Read Aloud by William F. Russell – The most complete collection of Greek and Roman myths specially arranged to be read aloud to children aged five to twelve. “Every child deserves this book. Those who do the reading aloud will be enlightened and rewarded, too.”–Edwin Newman Line drawings.

What I thought: I loved this book! The stories were fascinating.. I appreciated the pronunciations written out! I had no idea that I was pronouncing a few of these words wrong for so long, lol. I like the little extra things at the end of each story as well. Great book!

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Once We Were by Kat Zhang – “I’m lucky just to be alive.”

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

What I thought: Well, first of all, I didn’t realize this was the second book in a series until I was already into the book a good way…so, that didn’t help any. But I liked it ok. I am not sure if I would have liked it any more after reading the first book or not. It was strange since each person was actually two people, again with the confusion. Maybe I should just stay away from books like that, lol.

Bound for Oregon

Bound for Oregon by Jean van Leeuwen – With only a guide book to show them the way, the Todd family sets out from their Arkansas home on a two thousand mile trek to claim uncharted Oregon Territory. Crossing rough terrain and encountering hostile Indians, the Todds show their true pioneering spirit. But as winter draws near, will the Todds have the strength to complete their journey? And if they make it, will Oregon fulfill their dreams?

What I thought: I thought this was a wonderful book! Again, another school book. I am loving these choices though! This was told well and the characters were great. The story really pulled you in. And make sure you read the Author’s Note at the end, it is interesting as well!

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Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire – A fantasy set in Tsarist Russia.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs

What I thought: I liked this book! The characters were written so well, and the story line was sooo out there, but it just worked for me. I didn’t realize it was the same other that wrote Wiked, which really, I guess I could see that, lol. This book is like a fairy tale with other fairy tales inside!

Anyway, those are the books I read in April! I am excited for May! I have a stack of five books, but am not sure I could read all of them before they are due back to the library, we will see! :)

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Love Inspired book series {Review and Giveaway}

In case you haven’t figure it out…I love to read! I read so many different genres of books too! Sure, I seem to be partial to the YA section, but still.. ha! I tend to stay away from horrors and those romance novels that have questionable covers…or even worse, questionable content…ew. lol.

Love Inspired is a new book line from Harlequin. They offer wholesome, faith-based stories for women. They don’t make women out to be objects, which so many books do! It also has men shown in a good light, which many books don’t! Yes, it does go both ways in your average book!

PowerPoint Presentation

The Love Inspired product line is a series of books that are released every month and only have a shelf-life of one month. That is so interesting as it keeps the stories fresh and there are always new stories available!

The books are on the short side as well, typically around 200 pages or so. Which makes a perfect beach read, or rainy day read which is always my preference. :)

The books shown above are the books for May and are available until the 28th, which makes for a great Mother’s Day gift! (That would be May 10th, which is right around the corner!)

You can enter to win your own set of six books! Just enter below!

If you don’t win but would like to try them out, I have a $1 off coupon too! It is good for a while, so you can keep an eye out on a title that you really want and use your coupon on it! You can read current titles here!

Love Inspired 2015 Apr couponNow, it is so easy to enter! I have a feeling this one might be popular, so make sure you get your entries in soon!! All you need to do is make a few clicks and you are done! Easy peasy!!

Love Inspired book series {Review and Giveaway}

 Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment
Raising tomorrows leaders today
15-4 MM email
 
“Slowly [the boys] are beginning to realize they’re getting the best…and to also give the best out of their lives.”
–John & Mwila, houseparents at Zambia’s Student Life Homes

 


Since January, three Student Life Homes in Zambia are providing a safe environment for 39 students in the freshman class. This move gives them a place where they can thrive in a healthy, family environment away from the temptations and negative influences found in the compound where they were raised.
As expected, it’s been a bit of an adjustment for the 11 boys in John & Mwila’s home. Learning to function as a family with roles, rules, and certain expectations has taken some time to get used to for a group of boys who are accustomed to living on their own, answering only to themselves.
As you heard in their testimony, John & Mwila have not only met hardships along the way, but have experienced great joy of slowly transformed lives of boys like Bernard. Rejoice in God’s goodness and work in this home as Zambia’s future leaders are being raised today…
Will you join us in praying for John, Mwila, and the 11 boys in their home? Pray for God’s Spirit to be among them. Thank God for the growth they have seen in the past few months. Ask God to give John & Mwila wisdom and discernment to parent each of the boys for His glory.
 
Learn More
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gMovies {Review and Giveaway}

I don’t know about you, but for me, it seems like it is getting harder and harder to find good movies.. I don’t mind awesome movies, I mean ‘good’ movies. Personally, I just don’t like to hear swear words every second, that is a big turn off for me in a movie. Plus, if we are watching a movie with our kids, we aren’t always sure what they are going to see..

Enter gMovies. Seriously, every movie is ‘good’. They are faith-friendly too! They have almost 300 movies, not to mention animated stories, tv shows, and biblical documentaries!

gMovies

Over two million people are already enjoying gMovies every month! That is huge! Always available on your computer or mobile device, gMovies also includes the bible-based animated series “Pahappahooey Island;” teen drama “Much Ado About Middle School” starring Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether and Amanda Waters; and the “Left Behind” drama series starring Kirk Cameron and based on the New York Times bestselling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

I have always been a fan of Candace Cameron Bure, so I was happy to find some of her movies in there as well. They have comedy and drama movies, as well as the documentaries…even thrillers, but I stay away from those usually, even the ‘good’ kind, lol. I have been all over the website trying to add more movies to my list!

Our internet is sooo not the greatest where I am, but it seems to do ok, at least when I am watching my movies. They suggest having a download speed of at least 3.0Mbps. It is also Adobe Flash Player based, so you want to make sure your browser is able to run the latest version. It is also available on DISH!

It is normally $4.99/month for GMovies, but I have a code for a free two week trial! You will want to check it out! Hey, it’s free!! Just go here and use the code FREETRIAL63 It is as easy as that!

And, you can enter down below for a free six month pass!! Imagine the amount of movies you can watch in six months! Right!?!

gMovies {Review and Giveaway}

 
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment
Whatever Wanda! {Review and Giveaway}

WhateverWanda

Whatever Wanda! is such a cute book! It is also such a typical part of growing up, in my opinion..

Wanda is in serious need of an attitude adjustment! She doesn’t want to accompany her family to the Rubber Duck Days Festival, and once there, she won’t participate in any of the events or join in with her friends. Soon Wanda receives some helpful advice and learns that:

“Sometimes you have to believe something will be great before it actually is. Being positive is a choice that makes everything better, not to mention, a whole lot more fun!”

I can recall growing up and not particularly wanting to do something and then realizing too late that it would have been a lot of fun. It’s a crummy situation! I try and have my kids do new things, but they too have to realize it for themselves if they choose not to do it and then miss out on the fun.

This is a short book at just 32 pages, but the story really gets through! The illustrations are wonderful and very colorful!! And of course I love all of the ducks! ;)

The book is the third title in the Shine Bright Kids series and if you read them, the same kids are mentioned throughout each book. The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with the tools to teach the importance of making good choices. The series explores such topics as: using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.

The author is Christy Ziglar. She is a financial planner, mother of twins, and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, and is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her Shine Bright Kids picture book series. Christy, her husband, and their twins live in Atlanta, Georgia.

I found it interesting that the illustrator for the book, Paige Billin-Frye has a rubber duck collection. :)

Anyway, if you have younger kiddos and are interested in this book, you can enter to win your own copy down below!!

Whatever Wanda! {Review and Giveaway}

 

 

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