Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Audrey Bunny



Audrey Bunny is the newest book by Angie Smith and illustrated by Breezy Brookshire. Angie Smith is married to the lead singer of the music group Selah. She has written a few other books but this one is by far the cutest. The children's book comes with a Parent Connection section as well that aides parents in asking meaningful questions when you are done reading the book to your little one. There are references to scripture as well and that is what I really adored about this sweet book.

While reading it to my two older boys, Bear (5) and Ducky (3), I really felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about image. Poor Audrey (the Bunny in the book) has a smudge and thinks that no one will love her. Caroline comes along and loves her because she is imperfect. It is such a reflection of the love that Christ has for us, his children. We talked about things we don't like about ourselves. We also talked about how God loves us despite our imperfections. I want my boys to grow up and have a very good self image. I did not have a good self image until I had been married for a few years. Finally, one day it clicked. God thinks I am beauitful, even though I am far from perfect. He made me in His image and God doesn't make junk.

This book was so sweet. I highly recommend it to anyone with little ones in their home. I am so glad I get to add it to my collection of books. Since I homeschool I take collecting books very seriously. I am also very picky about which books I keep. I am definitely keeping this one.

Right now, Audrey Bunny is number one on Amazon.com for Christian children's books. How awesome is that!? Please check it out for yourself and buy it as a Christmas present for a little one in your life. They will love it!

Here are some other ways to find out more about this book:


Blessings,


Kristy


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



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Preschool Activities Review



Our homeschool year started a few weeks ago and now we are in full swing. Bear is in kindergarten and Ducky is doing preschool. Bear and I are doing MFW-K (My Father's World-K) and it creates a situation where Ducky has to be "pre-occupied". I have come up with lots of things for him to do. Since he is only 3 his attention span is about 5 minutes or less. I have come up with activities such as coloring, play doh, educational videos, etc. A few weeks ago I was sent the Bumper Wipe Clean Activities book to review. It is a biblical dry erase board with different things to learn on each page.

On the package it says 3 years old and up. This would be my only complaint. Ducky not only colored on the pages but on his skin, his desk, and the floor. Even after giving him a little talk about how the marker is only for the book, his little 3 year old mind thought it would be nice to try it out on other surfaces. The book does say that a crayon can be used as well so that solves that problem. I just wish I would have tried that from the beginning. Haha!

He did not understand how to do some of the activities by himself but after some brief directions he was able to do each page. He loved doing his school work and begged to do it each day after. Bear asked to do it as well and he was able to do each page on his own. They both love to draw and color and this was the perfect addition to our homeschool.


Blessings,


Kristy

*This book was given to me in exchange for my personal review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Peek Inside Jensen Family Academy

A new school year is about to begin. We have been busy this summer getting the classroom all set up for school. Bear is going into kindergarten and Ducky is going into pre-k. They are both very excited. They beg to do school work all the time. I love it at this age because they actually want to do their work and are eager to learn so I am taking full advantage of this. I just wanted to share my classroom with you. I wish I could find the pictures of this room as it was when we first bought this house over 3 years ago. I will describe it to you. The room we are using as a classroom is an addition that the previous owners built on. It is one large room with a full bathroom. It is all handicap accessible because the gentleman it was built for was very elderly and wheelchair bound. I love this about the room because it can be used for a parent or relative in the future if needed. It used to be painted neon orange from floor to ceiling including the trim. It also had that commercial grade carpeting. You know, the kind that looks matted to the floor. Can we say Gross!!

My wonderful Hubby tore out the carpet and replaced it with laminate wood floors and painted over the orange with a nice, neutral color. He built some shelves for all of our school books and put some above my desk for other supplies. I absolutely love this room in my house. It is actually one of my favorite rooms. I stay in it all the time. If the kids can't find me...they always look there first. On with the tour. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do.

Our easel with our school name.

Our book shelf with puzzles (and some of
mommy's cookbooks) and the bulletin board.
Yes, those large apples are covering up
my children's real names. Sorry!!

Our bulletin board up close. Yes, the apples...again. 

I just love this poster. This is in our reading corner.

Here are our workboxes and craft cabinet. The workboxes
right now have flashcards, coloring books, crayons, etc. in them.
The cabinet contains some of my craft supplies such as
sewing stuff, scrap booking, etc. and board games. Also,
there is our library book holder for the books we borrow from
the library.

A closer look at our library book holder. The 
box right next to it is the box we take with us 
to the library to keep them safe in. 

Here is my desk. It is all organized and ready 
for the first day!! There is a small children's desk
right next to it for one on one time with me. 

A close up of where the little desk is. The door behind it 
is the bathroom.

Here is another book shelf that has our CD player
on it as well as DVD's and other book collections.

Here is our "Masterpieces" wall where I will be hanging all of
the kids artwork. It is also where I have our "days of the week"
posters and our "weather" posters.

Here are their desks that they will be learning a lot of 
wonderful things in. 

My wonderful book shelves that are in the reading area. 
It may look like a mess but it really is organized and labeled.
There are little chairs underneath it for the big boys to sit
and read.

Here is a wider view from my desk. 

Here is the view from the bookshelves of my desk area. 

Shelves above my desk. So purty!!


Well, there you have it. My wonderful classroom that I am so very blessed to have. Jensen Family Academy will be in full swing on Tuesday. I can't wait. I am so excited!! I hope you will stop by again to see how we are doing throughout the school year. I will be doing a weekly (if not more) post about our work throughout the year. The first one will be in a couple of weeks because our first unit is on Creation and it lasts 2 weeks. I will do some progress reports along the way. By the way, we are using My Father's World curriculum and I absolutely love it so far (and I've read the Teacher's Manual like 100 times...LOL!). See you soon!!


Blessings,


Kristy














Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alone Yet Not Alone by: Tracy Leininger Craven



I am so happy I had the opportunity to read and review Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven. Not only is it an action packed book it is also based on a true story and it's faith-based. It is based on the Penn's Creek Massacre during the French and Indian War. The story is situated in the Mountains of Pennsylvania and follows the life of the Leininger family. After coming to America from Germany and facing many trials along the way they find a peaceful homestead along Penn's Creek and purchase land from the Indians. In the fall of 1755 their lives were rich with blessings and full of hope. Little did they know that was all about to change and their lives would forever be altered.

Twelve year old Barbara and her younger sister Regina were left in charge of the household chores while Mother and their oldest brother John went to town (a full days journey) to grind the corn from their harvest into grain. Father and their other brother Christian were in the barn and fields working all morning and came in for their noon meal that the girls had prepared. Father was a Godly man and read the Bible to his family every night and Mother would sing hymns. Father and Christian sat down to their meal and the girls joined them. The door burst open and two Indian braves rushed inside. With broken English they started to demand whiskey and tobacco. Father sent the girls to the creek to get fresh water for their guests.

The girls would never see their father or brother again. The Indians destroyed their home and took the girls captive. The story follows Barbara on her journey. The Indians raided all of the homes along Penn's Creek and took the women and children captive. They divided them up among the different tribes. Barbara was sent with an Indian brave named Galasko who was more kind than the others. Regina was sent to live with a harsh Indian named Mininka in another village. Barbara's Indian name was Susquehanna which means white lily.

Barbara was kept in Galasko's village for over three years. He wanted to marry her but she wanted to go home to her mother and brother and hopefully her sister. With a few other captives they planned their escape. That is all of the story I will give away. Throughout the whole book God's faithfulness and love for the Leininger family is very present. Barbara prays often to God and asks for help. She makes Regina promise to never forget who God is and his love for her. The book is titles Alone Yet Not Alone after the German hymn by the same name. Mother would sing it often in the evenings when the girls were in bed. This read very much like a Little House On The Prairie book. There is much more action but the background of it is very similar. If you like the LHOTP books you will definitely love this one. I plan to keep it so that all three of my boys can read it when they are old enough. It is full of rich history and compelling storylines.

It reminded me many times of the Israelites wondering the in the wilderness for 40 years. God had them go through those trials to test their faithfulness to him. I could not put this book down. This brings me to my next point. They are making it into a movie due out on September 27, 2013. I cannot wait for it to come out. I will be going to see it.

Here is the trailer for the movie:


There is also a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aloneyetnotalone
The website is: http://www.aloneyetnotalone.com

I do hope you will go out and purchase this book. It is targeted toward middle to high school but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and read it in 4 days (about an hour each night). It would make a very good read aloud for older children.

Blessings,


Kristy

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Candle Classic Bible Review



Being a homeschooling family we are always looking for new ways to present the Gospel of Christ to our children in a fun way. Over the years I have had many different types of bibles. That is such a huge blessing. We live in a free land that we can have the word of God at our fingertips at any moment of any day. When the opportunity came up to review a children's bible I was excited. I have a picture bible for the children (ages 4, 3, and 5 months) but nothing that goes into too much detail about each bible story. In The Candle Classic Bible there are 365 bible stories. One for each day of the year. There is a ribbon book mark so you and your child don't lose your spot. It's also hardback for sturdiness. Having three very energetic little boys this is a plus for me. The pages are thick and the pictures are beautiful. I also love the fact that it's not filled with pictures. I want my children to appreciate the word of God using their own imaginations.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading this sweet bible each evening with the children. My oldest, Bear, actually slept with it the first week we had it because he wanted to have it close to him when he was sleeping. Each of the stories includes the scripture reference for that day. I liked this because we could cross reference it with other bibles to look for accuracy. We had no problems with the accuracy of this particular resource. It was very delightful. The stories are done well but kept short enough for little ones to not lose interest.

The Candle Classic Bible actually encouraged my little ones to read the bible daily. It helped them to understand the stories easier. My husband and I enjoyed reading it as well. We would read a bible story and pray about what we read. It brought us closer together as a family. This bible will be one of our favorites for years to come. I recommend it for children and adults of all ages.




*This book was given to me in exchange for my personal review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, June 27, 2013

9 Things I learned about Marriage in 9 Years

"A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life."


-Proverbs 31:10-12



I write a lot about marriage and the husband-wife relationship. The reason is that I pray about what to write on my blog and the Lord leads me in this direction. I am a very observant person. I love to people watch. I like to watch people interact with one another. People are very interesting. The marriage relationship and how people treat each other is interesting. 

You can tell a lot about a couple through their body language. If they are holding hands, smiling at each other, and genuinely flirting with each other they are probably very happy in their marriage (at least to an observer like myself). If a couple seems to be avoiding eye contact, gets snippy with each other, or keeps their hands across their chest (signifying that they do not want to be touched) there are obvious problems. 

I've been around and witnessed my fair share of disgruntled married couples (and non-married couples). Some people are great "fakers". Even if they are fighting like cats and dogs behind closed doors, no one would ever know and that's the way it should be. 

I say all of this because it has been on my heart to write about being a wife again. I love being a wife. Of course, my wonderful husband makes it easy! Lately, I've been noticing more and more couples being down right mean to each other. It breaks my heart to see it happen. To be honest, most of the time it is the wife nasty and mean to her husband. Now I know that no husband (or man or woman) alive is perfect but I'm not here to discuss the husband's role (as I've never been one before). Men are wired differently than women. Nagging to death, yelling, and demanding a husband to behave a certain wait, say what you want, or do what you want will never work...trust me on this ladies. It wears him down, makes him feel like shutting down, and it kills his spirit. 

I've learned that the way to get what I want from my husband is to give him what he wants first. Most husbands don't want a squeaky clean house, a super model for a wife, and perfect children. What he really wants is to be respected and admired, loved and appreciated, needed at home, and kissed each day when they come home from work. They spend all day away from you and the kids. They have been torn down and worn down by his boss, customers, co-workers, etc. He just wants to come home and know that he is a hero to his wife and children. 

As a wife, I know that when I put God first, everything else seems to be better. My relationship with my husband, children, friends, and family is so much better when my relationship with my Heavenly Father is first in my life. 

I know I haven't been married a very long time (9 years) but Hubby and I have been through a lot. We both think of our marriage as a ministry. If what people see if fighting and arguing and hatefulness toward each other, that does not represent Christ very well. We try to be the best we can be so that others will see Christ through our marriage. ("Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." -1 Peter 3:1-2)  My husband has told me many times during an argument that he is most happy when I am happy. That is such an eye-opener to me. 

Here are 9 things I learned about marriage in 9 years:

1. Put God First
  • Make time for God every day. Give Him the best of your time not what's left over in the evening when you are exhausted.
2. Pray for your marriage and husband
  • Ask God to protect your marriage from sin. Ask Him to guard your husband from sin as he goes to work each day. Pray that God would show you new ways to show your love for your spouse. If there are serious problems between the two of you, pray for restoration of your marriage. With God anything is possible. Don't give up.
3. Don't nag, complain, or give orders to your husband
  • Men are humans too. He has had a hard enough day at work, give him a break and make your home a happy place for him to be. Make him sad to see you leave and happy to have you with him. He is imperfect just like everyone and in need of a Savior. Give him grace just as God has given you grace. Ok, so he doesn't do things your way or when you want it done. His mind processes things differently than ours. Remember the verse in the Bible It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife."  -Proverbs 21:9
4. Uphold your husband's reputation 
  • The only people that should know about your husband's flaws and faults are you and your husband. We shouldn't bash him in front of people. We shouldn't call our mother or best friend just to tell them the latest thing he did wrong. This kind of behavior could cause others to sin by thinking badly of someone else. Would you want him airing your dirty laundry on Facebook, to his co-workers, or to HIS mother?? Yikes! By the way, your children hear EVERYTHING. If you bad talk your husband, they will begin to think bad things about their daddy. We should only say uplifting and good things about him. Do we want our children to say and think bad things about us, as mothers? Think about it...
5. Don't belittle your husband
  • Whether in public or private this should never be done. Jesus would never condone this kind of treatment toward someone. It is hurtful and embarrassing. Try this instead: when something negative comes to mind about your spouse immediately replace that thought with something positive about him. You married him for some reason(s) or another. Even if you have to think back to the "dating years", do so. 
6. Don't argue in front of anyone
  • This is a huge "no-no". Not only does it look bad for both of you, it makes other people feel uncomfortable. Also, and this is very important, never argue in front of your children. They copy your behavior...good and bad. They want their parents to love each other. How can we expect them to learn how to love if we are unloving toward the most important person to us? Be the example of love that they wish to have one day with their future spouse. 
7. Make time for each other
  • Remember when it was just the two of you? The all-night conversations, holding hands, romantic dinners, long walks...Now you have jobs, children, finances to budget, a house to clean, general demands in life. With all of the busyness of life comes less time to reconnect. Take time at least once a month to do something together. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. You just need each other. You don't even have to leave your house. Take the kids to a sitter, grandparent, neighbor, someone you trust for a few hours or overnight. Do something that you both like: go for a walk, go to your favorite restaurant, watch a movie, stay home and hold hands on the couch. Anything is good. Keep the love alive!
8. Enjoy the man that God blessed you with
  • If he comes home right away every night from work (regardless of the hour), if he loves you, if he loves your children, and, most of all, if he loves God you are truly blessed with a good man. He may not be perfect (because no one is), he may do things a little differently than you, but he is yours. Cherish him. Love him. God gave this specific man to you. Enjoy the blessing that he is. 
9. Be intimate with your man and often
  •  "But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." -1 Corinthians 7:2-5
          Ladies, this is tricky because our bodies are made completely different than our husbands body (other than the obvious). They WANT to be intimate with their wife. I think the Bible verse above explains it         perfectly. Just consider this part one of the perks of being married :) Afterall, I married my husband for       his looks anyway. LOL!

One more thing I would like to mention is how we should treat our spouse. If a wife is always dissatisfied with her husband and never pleased no matter what, there is a serious problem. Pray about this. Treat him like you want to be treated. We don't have to live miserably. We have a choice everyday to be happy in our marriage or miserable (unless there are extenuating circumstances). I always say this prayer in troubled times "change ME, O Lord". I've noticed, often times, that my husband plays off of my attitude. He can be in the best mood and happy. But if I've mean and put him down, he gets a bad attitude as well. Also, and this goes for any relationship, don't let your circumstances determine your reaction. Practice self control.

We are all under pressure in some way or another. Let us practice Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruits of the spirit) at all times. 

I don't want anyone to think that I have this whole marriage thing mastered by any means. I am a work in progress. As long as I'm working toward being what God called me to be as a wife, mother, and person I'm headed in the right direction. 

50% of marriages (including Christian marriages) end in divorce. We need to get that number way down. The only way to do that is to put God first!

These are all my opinions, of course, but I feel strongly about this subject. I mainly wrote this blog post for myself as a reminder to be the best wife I can be. I pray that someone else will be blessed by it as well. 


Blessings,


Kristy 



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy 9th Anniversary!

Today is my anniversary. 9 years ago I married my best friend. I thought I would share some of my favorite love songs. I hope you enjoy. The first one is the one we danced to at our wedding! I love you Hunny Bunny!










I love my husband and look forward to many more years with him. God answered all my prayers when he sent my husband to me. I am happy to grow old with you baby!


Blessings,


Kristy

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Refreshed and Encouraged!

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." -Proverbs 22:6


This past weekend I attended the HEAV convention. It is THE homeschool convention in Virginia and it was a blast! I have been feeling very down on myself lately about homeschooling. Not necessarily doing the homeschooling but more of a feeling of guilt. Guilt that the world has put upon my shoulders to carry around. People often try to make you feel guilty for doing what God has called you to do not knowing your situation or circumstances. I just wanted to encourage anyone who is feeling this way by loved ones, family, friends, even people at your church. Please know that if you are doing what God has called you to do, you will be blessed for it. If you read my blog often you will know that I was doing a series on here called "The Blessings of...". I started off with "Being a Wife" and "Motherhood". My next post was to be about "Homeschooling". After a few people discouraged me in my homeschooling journey I prayed about whether or not to write the blog post. I want to always be considerate of others and not make anyone feel judged. I am truly blessed to be able to homeschool my children. Any information I share with people is due to my own excitement and joy of homeschooling. God made is very clear that I was to wait for His timing. 

I went to the HEAV and had an amazing time. I met some wonderful people and really felt God working in my life. I even saw a few people I know there and it brought joy to my heart that others are considering taking this journey as well. I know feel as though the Lord has given me a new light on the situation. I am on fire about homeschooling my children. I bought my curriculum this past weekend and I can't wait to get started. My children and K and Pre-K. They are very excited as well. I am going to take pictures of my classroom and post them here for you all to see where we do our work. We don't stay in there all day. Actually, I use it mostly for storage and read-aloud time. My desk is in there and book cases filled with my wonderful treasures. Starting in the fall, I will be doing a weekly wrap-up of what we did that week. I will be documenting our homeschooling journey on my blog and hope to encourage someone who is considering it. 

I have to say that I peruse many homeschooling blogs each week looking for ideas, encouragement, freebies, advice, etc. I have my favorites and I will be sharing those as I go along as well. I want to say to anyone who is considering homeschooling to pray about it and talk with your husband/wife about it first. If this is something you feel that God is calling you to do, that's when you do a lot of research. Ask questions, join a group (either online or in person), talk to people at church. Or, like me, you have a great SIL that has been homeschooling for like 16 years and knows a lot about a lot. I know I have asked to hundreds of questions. She always answers them and is willing to share her "stuff" with me. 

I would also like to insert a comment here as well to those who think homeschooling is bad or something to be ashamed of. I have done my research, I have asked tons of questions, I have prayed (a lot), and spoken to my husband about this decision. It was not an easy one to come by. I used to be just like that. I thought homeschoolers were weird, unsocialized, crazy people. Well, now I'm one of them! LOL! Please be careful with your words. I have been hurt by many people during this time of my life and words cannot be taken back. Of course, I have forgiven these people and hope they forgive me for being over-zealous about my life. I do not wish to boast but to help others understand what it means to me. If you truly know my heart, you know that everything I say about homeschooling is because I am very eager to teach my children. 

So, I am going to write my blog post "The Blessings of Homeschooling" and ignore and pray for any naysayers that come my way. There will be those kind of people in life no matter what choices you make. Please be on the lookout for the post and many more to come. I hope and pray that God will use this blog for His glory and not my own. He has brought me to this point in my life and I want to only please Him. 


Blessings,


Kristy

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Change of Plans

I prayed about what to do. I thought everything through. Still, my plans have changed. I was going to do the "Blessings" series for my blog. God led me to each of the topics that I was going to write about. I have gotten through "The Blessings of Being a Wife" and "The Blessings of Motherhood". My next endeavor was going to be "The Blessings of Homeschooling" but I have decided not to go any further in the series for now. Maybe one day I will pick it back up but for now God has put it on my heart not to move forward.

I have heard a lot of things lately about homeschooling and don't want to offend anyone. I realize that many people cannot homeschool and I really do understand. My husband and I prayed A LOT about this decision. It was not one that came easily for us. We were led by the Lord to homeschool our boys. We have to do what is right for our family and others have to do what they feel is right for them. Since I have a lot of learning to do on this, and many subjects, I have decided after much consideration to keep quiet about it for a while.

I would just like to add that sometimes I may come across a little over-zealous about homeschooling but it is only because I am so excited to be doing so. I apologize for not going forward with the series. Please be in prayer for me as I continue on my journey.


Blessings,


Kristy

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"The Blessings of Motherhood" (Part 2)

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” -Proverbs 31:25-30


The day Bear was born was one of the best days of my life. He was worth every hour of pain and delivery.



When they let us take him home from the hospital we couldn't believe it. Hubby and I thought "they are letting us take this sweet baby home all by ourselves and we didn't even take a class or get a license to have one?" LOL! I know, it sounds silly. But babies are a HUGE responsibility. I am so thankful that I get to be his mother. He is my sweet, determined, curious, orange-headed helper. He is very spunky and silly and loves to laugh. He is also very aware of life. He is aware that it can be taken away and asks a TON of questions. He is extremely inquisitive. I love that about him. He has a zest for learning and loves to "do school work".

I never thought I could love another child as much as I loved him. Then, we got pregnant with Ducky and that's when the real fun began *wink, wink*


Ducky brought so much sunshine into our lives. Bear was so happy to have a brother to play with. Even though Ducky didn't sleep through the night until he was 10+ months old, we got through it. Now he is my best sleeper! He is my kind-hearted, extremely intelligent, independent, blonde boy. He loves life and loves his brothers. He tries to "help" but makes more messes than not. LOL! He's all boy.

Once again, we never thought we could love another child as much as we already loved these two little boys. We got pregnant again and were so happy. We could not believe how excited the boys were and how much love we already felt for our baby. I started thinking of names right away. The boys helped me think of silly names and they kept saying they wanted a sister. Unfortunately, baby Kendall went to Heaven at 12 weeks gestation and we were devastated. He had brought so much love to our lives in such a short time. Bear and Ducky cried and cried. We had many talks with both of them, mainly Bear, about where baby Kendall went and that we would see him in Heaven someday. It still makes me cry when I think about what he would have been like, looked like, felt like in my arms. There is an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled until I get to see his face. Until then, I am enjoying the blessings I already have here with me.

(This is the only picture we have of baby Kendall before he went to Heaven)

We thought we probably wouldn't have anymore children. I remember saying that I didn't want to be pregnant every again to risk losing my baby. Grief can do so many things to us. It makes us eat a lot or not at all, makes us cry a lot or shut completely down. I did a lot of all of those things. A few months went by and we were slowly healing from the loss. Then, we had the surprise of our lives. Another baby was on the way! We were so elated. I didn't think I would be as excited and for the first few months I was extremely careful and we didn't even tell anyone until after the first trimester. When my little Monkey was born my heart was bursting with love.


Look how cute he is! He was my longest labor but I wouldn't trade it for the world. He is such a sweet baby. He actually giggled for the first time today when we were in Target. I can't get enough of him. I love to cuddle him. Bear and Ducky are very good big brothers. They help me so much with him and love to hold him and kiss him. 

Being a mother is such a high calling. I am with them the most and have the most influence on them. My life is so incredibly blessed by having these boys in it. They are a handful but they also make my heart full. They have determination like no other when they don't (or do) want to do something. I see a lot of me in them. I hope I see a lot more good from me than the ugly. 

I am going to share with you a story. Recently I have been feeling so horrible about yelling at my kids. I don't yell at them all the time everyday. But, I yell. I can get mean and angry when I yell. I see Bear and Ducky starting to pick up that bad behavior. I feel so convicted. I am sharing this with you because I have begun a journey. I don't know where it will lead or how I will get through it but by the grace of God and lots of prayer. I have challenged myself to not yell anymore. I have set a goal of 1 month of no yelling. I read a blog recently called the Orange Rhino. She got me to thinking that I could do this too. I talked with my older boys and husband and told them my plan. Whenever I get angry or start to yell they are to kindly say "orange rhino" and remind me to not yell. I told Bear and Ducky that it also reminds me that the person with whom I am upset is also someone special to me. I care about that person and don't want to yell. So, our house is now a "No Yell Zone". 

I will keep you posted on my progress. Please keep me in your prayers because it's not as easy as it sounds. 

I am their mother. I have a responsibility to God to raise them to know Him first. I consider that my number one priority. The jobs of a mother are never ending: chef, nurse, chauffeur, seamstress, personal shopper, boo boo kisser, ball chaser, snot grabber, tickle monster, maid, and so on. I don't get paid any money. I don't even get credit for most of the things I do and some days I don't even get a thank you. But, every single day I get kisses and hugs. I get to watch them grow up and see every new thing they do and learn. I get the awesome job of playing with them and loving them. Motherhood to me is the best job that God gave to women and to the world. A mother's love is so different than a father's love. Mother's are more tender-hearted, nurturing, caring, and graceful in the home. God has given me my boys only temporarily but ultimately they are His. I have them with me only a short time and I want that time to be precious. 

I have many friends who can't have children and are waiting. As one of them says "waiting in  hope". I am praying for each of you. God has a plan and a purpose. I am holding on to hope and faith for each of you. 

Mothers, let us pray for one another. The world is trying hard to take our children. Let us become Godly mothers who teach our children the ways of the Lord. That is my prayer for you.


Blessings,


Kristy 

Monday, May 20, 2013

"The Blessings of Being a Wife" Part 1


Almost 9 years ago (next month) I married my best friend. I was so young and had no idea of the blessings that would come from being married to such a wonderful gift from God. I have to say, though, that I am truly the one who is blessed by this man. He is the hardest working man I have ever met. He is the kindest, gentlest, sweetest man. He loves me and all of my flaws. He never complains and is very content with the life we have. He looks up to his dad (who is a great man as well) and asks for his advice on important issues. He loves his mother and appreciates all she did for his family growing up. He has blessed my life so much that I cannot even begin to describe it in words.

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." -Proverbs 18:22

This verse is one of my favorites. A wife is a good thing. It is not a burden or something to look down upon. I know a lot of women have hard marriages. Their husband is never home, lazy, disconnected, or maybe even abusive. Abuse is NEVER ok. Seek help in this situation. Wives should always pray for their husbands. I pray for my husband daily. 




Being a "good wife" means (to me): 
praying for my husband 
accepting his flaws 
uplifting him 
respecting him (always) 
putting his needs above my own
keeping our home comfortable for him (not just me)
not speaking badly about him (even to my mother)

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I love this Bible verse because it describes God's love for us. God is our example in life. The way He loves us is the way we should love others. This applies, especially, to the way I love my husband. So, I am going to use this verse but think of it, instead, as how I should treat my husband and marriage.

I must "suffer long" (be patient) and be kind. I am probably one of the most impatient people on earth. I have gotten better over the years. I must not envy someone else's marriage. Every marriage has problems. It is in the way you handle them that is the difference. Don't let your husband's reputation be tainted by YOUR words. Build him up to others even when you don't feel like it. Remember why you fell in love with him. Nor should I boast about having a great marriage or husband. You never know who you might be talking to. Maybe the person just went through a divorce, lost her husband, is abused, etc. Take others into consideration. 


I should not be rude toward my husband. If he says or does something I don't like, that does not give me the right to disrespect him or be rude to him. It takes effort and hard work to get this part right. I should never be selfish. When I think about this part, I think about our home and how I can make it more welcoming to him. Over the years I have come to love the "primitive" look for my house. My husband hates it. I could be selfish and say "I am here most of the time and I buy the decorations so it's what I want". Instead, we compromise. I have a few primitive pieces here and there mixed in with what my husband likes. Yes, we have Redskins stuff throughout the house. No, I don't like it. But, if I want to be a "good wife" I must make it HIS home as well. After all, he pays the bills. LOL!


The next part about not being provoked is very hard for me. My husband says I am a firecracker. That is NOT a good thing. My fuse is so short. I am so easily provoked into a fight with him. Also, not a good thing. I am working on this. I am not to rejoice in evil things but only in the truth. 


Being a wife is such a blessing to me because I get to take care of my husband every day. I get to love him and cherish him. I get to cook his dinner and take care of our home and children. God has been so good to me. I am blessed because my husband loves me. He lets me know by telling me daily. But, he also shows me his love. He really likes to keep busy by doing things around the house. He does dishes, laundry, and even mops the floors. He is what I like to call a "clean freak". I, on the other hand, am not. The dishes in the sink don't bother me. The laundry doesn't bother me. But, since it bothers him I try to keep a tidy home. 





I mean, just look at him. How can you not love that man!? He is so wonderful and such a great daddy to our boys as well. 








I love being a wife. It is the best thing I have ever done along with being a mother to 3 sweet little boys. Which leads into my next blog post in the series "The Blessings of Motherhood". That will be next week. Please visit me again to check it out. 

Remember to pray for your husband every single day. He needs it. 


Blessings,


Kristy

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Blog Series Coming Soon...

I have been thinking and praying about what to do with my blog. I have always said I want to use it to glorify God. It recently came to me and now I am going to announce it to my readers. The new series will be called "The Blessings of..." So far, I have these topics I will be discussing:

1.  Being a Wife
2. Motherhood
3. Homeschooling
4. Raising Boys
5. Being a Stay-at-home-mom
6. Being a Daughter
7. Being a Sister
8. Family (including in-laws)
9. Having a great church to attend
10. Being a Christian and reading my Bible

I can't wait to get started. I am going to write my first post in the series on Monday the 20th. Please check back then to read all about "The Blessings of being a wife". I will also be doing my normal blog posts starting next week as well: Happy Homemaker Monday, Cooking Thursday, and Sacred Sunday. I am super excited to be blogging again. I am so thankful that I have readers who want to visit my blog (even if it is just a few of you). I really appreciate each of you and thank God for you.


Blessings,


Kristy


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Magazines.com Winner!

And the winner is....



Ashley Spence!

I will be contacting you soon to claim your prize. 

Congrats and enjoy your new magazine subscription from magazines.com!!


Blessings,

Kristy


Friday, May 10, 2013

The "G" Word!

I have been wanting to write this blog post for some time now. I have only delayed because I had a baby a couple of months ago and am just now getting back into writing. The "G" word I am talking about here is GUILT. You know...the one that makes you feel bad about every decision you make. As a woman, I am constantly feeling guilty about something in my life. I feel guilty that I didn't get the house clean today while Hubby was at work, I feel guilty if I go out by myself and leave the kids with a sitter, I feel guilty if I tell someone how I really feel, guilty, guilty, guilty. The list could go on for days so I will stop right there. You can name your own things to feel guilty about.

I have had so many situations in my life that are regrettable. Thankfully, I have a Savior who died to rid me of my regrets and guilt. There are words I wish I wouldn't have said. Things I wish I wouldn't have seen. There are people I wish were still in my life. I feel guilty for not calling my Grandmother. She is up there in age and I always say I am too busy. Too busy for the people who love me. I am not busy in the sense of running around. But, I am busy homeschooling, homemaking, taking care of an infant and his two older brothers and so on. Why do I let these things get in the way of making a simple phone call? One of the biggest things I feel guilty about in my life is saying things that are regrettable.

I recently read a blog post from Visionary Womanhood called "The Power of My Words". HERE is the link. I even posted it to my Facebook page because it was so powerful.

“Remind them to…speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2 

Can you say...WOW! I have read the Bible many times but this never popped out at me. Avoid quarreling? Show PERFECT courtesy toward ALL people? I will just come out and say it: That is not my personality at all. I mean I am not rude. But, I have had a quarrel or two in my day. When driving...I would say I have slight road rage (although some people would beg to differ). Am I showing perfect courtesy to the little old man that I am behind? He is going so slow and I am running late. Does the beeping of my horn say "Excuse me sir. I'm a Christian and I love the Lord."? Or, does it say "Move it person! I don't care who you are or what YOUR needs are...mine are more important!"

I was curious so I looked up the definition to some of these words used in Titus.

Perfect- being entirely without fault, flawless, mature, pure
Courtesy- behavior marked by polished manners and respect toward others, consideration and cooperation of others
Quarrel- dispute or complaint, verbal conflict between antagonists

OK, so I am very convicted. I have not been courteous toward many people in my life (and those I pass along the road). I have, in fact, been quarrelsome. Can I say, GUILTY!? I have said many things to many people over the years that were horrible. It started with my parents, then my siblings, then friends, etc. Now, my Hubby. It makes me sad to think of what I have said to him that would tear him down as a man. He is wonderful, loving, kind, gentle, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

At first, I thought "it's all hormones". Yes...that's it. Hormones. Well, what about those times of the month that I can't blame "hormones"? I guess, it's just me then. Thank God I have the Bible as my guide to life. Without it I would be a HOT MESS. I am so grateful that I have been saved by the grace of God. I am so thankful to have a great Hubby who reigns me back in when I start to feel guilty about everything in life and forgives me before I even have to ask for it. I am so blessed to have children who forgive me when I'm having a bad "mommy day" and still like to be around me all the time.

How many people have I torn down because of the words I spoke? I can think of a few. I can't say how truly sorry I am that I every used words to hurt someone. Especially someone I love. I have days when all I feel like I do is yell. Yell at my kids, yell at my husband, yell at the man who just rang the doorbell just as I put the kids down for a nap. I know...it sounds bad. But, I think we can all relate. There are days that just seem to never end.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

That is how I want to live my life...no corrupting talk. Once you say (or yell) something...it's out there. If you gossip or talk bad about someone. You can't take it back. You can say you are sorry a million times but you can't take it back. I know people who try to make you feel guilty by the things they say. Nothing is ever their fault. Nothing ever goes their way. Life just isn't fair. How dare others have a great husband, wonderful children who love the Lord, parents who care. I have felt horrible after talking to these kinds of people. I think to myself "why am I so deserving of these things and yet they have none of them?" I have to say...it doesn't last long. I have a VERY blessed life. But, so do these other people. I'm not talking of a specific person. I am talking about everyone. We are all very blessed. Yes, we go through hard times. Yes, we will have struggles on this earth. Yes, there will be times when we question God. We have to focus on eternity and what matters there.

What I am saying is that none of this junk is going to matter when we get to heaven. The ONLY thing that will matter is if you have given your life to the Lord. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart and lived a life for Him? I am so thankful that God chose me to be His daughter. I am blessed beyond measure, beyond words. So, if you are like me and feel guilty all the time about something in your life, just remember that God doesn't want you to feel that way. He wants you to think on the things that are good:

Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8

If you have said something to someone or done something to hurt someone and feel guilty about it, apologize to them. Seek forgiveness. Don't be too prideful to do this. If the person doesn't find it in their heart to forgive you, that is their problem. As my Hubby has said to me MANY times "Be the bigger person". If it's a fight and you are both wrong, then that saying applies to you. I have told my Hubby before that I am so big I can't fit in the house anymore. LOL! I laugh now, but that is how I have felt in the past. Remember the song by Chris August "7x70". 



I have had to remind myself of this many times. Don't live your life feeling guilty anymore. I am still a work in progress but with help from God, my Hubby, and friends and family I know I will make a full recovery. LOL! Now, I am going to have to say it: "Hi, my name is Kristy and I feel guilty about everything."


I hope this helps even one person. I am praying for each of you and hope this can start some healing in your life too. 


Blessings,


Kristy

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Magazines.com Review and Giveaway!!



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



Don't you just LOVE magazines?! I know I do. It's so great when you go to the mailbox and open it up to find your favorite magazine waiting for you to read. I was recently chosen to receive a free subscription to a magazine of my choosing from magazines.com. Well, needless to say, I was thrilled beyond thrilled. First of all, I LOVE free stuff. Secondly, it was for Cooking With Paula Deen. My favorite kind of magazine to read is a recipe filled one. I collect cook books and cooking magazines.

Magazines.com offers people a fun, easy way to discover new reads and helps them track their magazine subscriptions. Shop the great magazine subscription deals at Magazines.com for Mother’s Day 2013! You’ll find incredible savings on Mom’s favorite cooking, celebrity, crafting magazine subscriptions and more. Don’t forget about all the moms in your life—your aunt, sister and your grandmother! Give her a gift that keeps on giving!

Here are a list of magazines I was able to choose from:

Cooking with Paula Deen
Martha Stewart Living
Parenting Early Years
Parenting School Years
Prevention
Weight Watchers
Working Mother
Victoria
People
Southern Living
Food Network
Real Simple
Southern Lady
Crochet Today
Tea Time
Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting
Entertain Decorate Celebrate
Taste of South
Creative Machine Embroidery
Just Cross Stitch
Quilt
Quilter's Newsletter
Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly
Creative Knitting
Quilter's World
Sew News
Crochet World
Creating Keepsakes
Crochet
Card Maker

I really had a hard time choosing. I mean...Food Network magazine, Quilter's World (I do some sewing/quilting myself), or Card Maker?? I was at a loss. So, I just chose the one that I thought I would get the most use out of. Cooking with Paula Deen was my choice.


Doesn't that cake look scrumptious?! I can't wait to get mine in the mail in a few short weeks. Here is the GREAT news. I have a free subscription to give away to one lucky reader. You get to choose from the list above and receive a free magazine! a Rafflecopter giveaway The winner will be chosen on May 16, 2013. Come back and visit me then and find out if you won!



Blessings,


Kristy